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Summer Down Under

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Continuing my recent theme on weather, while those of us in the north are bundling up against the cold these days, Australia is experiencing a historic summer heat wave. Many records have been broken as temperatures climbed as high as 43 degrees C (109.4F) in Sydney, and the city of Eucla, in Western Australia, recorded a temperature of 48.3 C (119F) on January 3. The extreme conditions have triggered dust storms and raging wildfires, burning more than 750,000 acres, and destroying hundreds of homes. Collected here are images of Australia's January heat wave, and people both coping with it and enjoying it. [31 photos]

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A white shelf cloud caps brownish dirt from a dust storm, or haboob, as it travels across the Indian Ocean near Onslow on the Western Australia coast in this handout image distributed by fishwrecked.com and taken January 9, 2013. (Reuters/Brett Martin/fishwrecked.com)
A white shelf cloud caps brownish dirt from a dust storm, or haboob, as it travels across the Indian Ocean near Onslow on the Western Australia coast in this handout image distributed by fishwrecked.com and taken January 9, 2013. (Reuters/Brett Martin/fishwrecked.com)
A white shelf cloud caps brownish dirt from a dust storm, or haboob, as it travels across the Indian Ocean near Onslow on the Western Australia coast in this handout image distributed by fishwrecked.com and taken January 9, 2013. (Reuters/Brett Martin/fishwrecked.com) #
A surfer enjoys a wave as a surf boat makes its way to sea at Bondi Beach in Sydney, on December 12, 2012. Australia's iconic Bondi beach receives up to 40,000 visitors on a busy summer day according to local authorities. (Reuters/Daniel Munoz) #
A view of the Opera House and Sydney harbor as the heat of the day sets in on January 8, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. Temperatures were expected to reach as high as 43 degrees C (109.4F). (Marianna Massey/Getty Images) #
Massive crowds flock to Bondi Beach to cool off in the waters on January 8, 2013 in Sydney. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images) #
Huge crowds turned out on opening day of the Sydney Festival January 5, 2013. The festival opening, previously "Sydney Festival First Night", was scaled back from previous years, when crowds reached as many as 60,000 for the launch. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images) #
A gigantic rubber duck floats into Sydney's Darling Harbour on January 5, 2013 to kick off Sydney's annual arts festival, a celebration which combines high-art with popular entertainment. The rubber duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman forms part of the 2013 Sydney Festival which will present more than 750 artists from about 17 countries around the world. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images) #
John O'Reilly takes refuge in the cool water behind a waterfall of a fountain in central Sydney, on January 8, 2013, as the temperature reached 42 degrees C (107.6F). Temperatures across much of New South Wales state were expected to reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) creating severe wildfire conditions. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft) #
Smoke from a bushfire billows over hills near Forcett, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) east of Hobart, on January 4, 2013. Bushfires destroyed over 80 homes as temperatures in Australia's island state Tasmania peaked at record highs on Friday local media reported. (Reuters/John Grosvenor) #
A wildfire near Deans Gap, Australia, crosses the Princes Highway on January 8, 2013. Firefighters are battling scores of wildfires in southeastern Australia as authorities evacuate national parks and warned that hot, dry and windy conditions were combining to raise the threat to its highest alert level. (AP Photo/NSW Rural Fire Service, James Morris) #
Bushfires in Australia, as seen from orbit on January 2, 2013, in this photo taken by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station. (Reuters/Chris Hadfield/NASA) #
Firefighters cross a paddock blackened by recent bushfires near Bookham, a small village in the Yass Shire in the southern region of Australia's New South Wales state, on January 10, 2013. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images) #
A charred vehicle sits near the remains of a home destroyed by a wildfire between Dunalley and Boomer Bay, east of the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, on January 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Kidd) #
A house destroyed by a bushfire in Dunalley, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Hobart, on January 5, 2013. Over 100 homes have been destroyed in Australia's island state of Tasmania, with police saying that thousands of residents have been displaced by dozens of bush fires, driven by record high temperatures last week across the country. (Reuters/Chris Kidd) #
A water bombing helicopter returns from a fire ground to Yass in the southern region of Australia's New South Wales, on January 11, 2013. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images) #
Smoke from a bushfire billows over beachgoers at Carlton, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Hobart, on January 4, 2013. (Reuters/Joanne Giuliani) #
A group of young men stands atop a rock in the waters off Bondi beach in Sydney on January 4, 2013. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images) #
Participants in "Strut the Streets", an annual swimwear parade, look at a man pole dancing in central Sydney, on December 7, 2012. "Strut the Streets" raises money to help aboriginal Australians to finish school at the same rate as every Australian child. (Reuters/Daniel Munoz) #
Britain's Andy Murray serves during a practice session at Melbourne Park as he prepares for next week's Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, on January 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #
Yacht Loki carves through the heavy swell after the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race in Sydney, on December 26, 2012. With spinnakers up, the 76-yacht fleet weaved its way around thousands of spectator craft in the harbor before heading out to the Tasman Sea for the 628-nautical-mile (723-mile; 1,163-kilometer) race to the island state of Tasmania. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) #
A python (upper right) lies wedged on the wing of a Qantas passenger plan as it flies over Port Moresby, on January 10, 2013. Passengers on a flight from Australia to Papua New Guinea were shocked to look out their cabin windows to find a huge snake on the wing of the plane. The three meter-long (9.1 foot) non-poisonous Amethystine python appeared about an hour into the Qantas flight between Cairns in northern Queensland and the Papua New Guinean capital of Port Moresby. (Reuters/Robert Weber/oldplantation.com.pg) #
Beach-goers leave Tamarama Beach after cooling off in the water where a lifeguard sign warns of the dangerous heat conditions on January 8, 2013 in Sydney. Temperatures were expected to reach as high as 43 degrees C (109.4F) around Sydney. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images) #
Beach-goers apply sunscreen to each other at Bondi Beach on January 8, 2013 in Sydney. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images) #
Sunrise swimmers take to Bronte Pool in Bronte Beach to beat the heat as temperatures were expected to reach record highs on January 8, 2013 in Sydney. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images) #
Water-bombing operations take place on a fire at Sandhills on January 9, 2013 in Bungendore, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) #
This photo, taken by Astronaut Chris Hadfield from the International Space Station, on January 8, 2013 shows a view of the wildfires in Australia. (AP Photo/NASA, Chris Hadfield) #
A scrubfire burns up a hillside south of Bookham, near Yass in the southern region of Australia's New South Wales, on January 11, 2013. After two days of cooler weather, heat and high winds returned to much of the country as fire crews tackled the infernos that have been burning for a week, 18 of them out of control in the most populous state of New South Wales. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images) #
Burned dead sheep lie in a paddock where they tried to break through a fence as a recent bushfire raged near Bookham, a small village in the Yass Shire in Australia's New South Wales, on January 10, 2013. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images) #
Two men windsurf on a lake located on the outskirts of Hobart, in Tasmania, on December 21, 2012. (Reuters/David Gray) #
On a hot day, Brazilian Tapir Tique is treated to a nice cold shower by the zoo keeper at Taronga Zoo on January 8, 2013 in Sydney. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images) #
A surfer drinks a coffee as he sits with his surfboard on the footpath above Manly Beach on a hot summer day in Sydney, on January 5, 2013. (Reuters/David Gray) #

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