Penrith has recorded its hottest December day on record with the mercury rising to a sweltering 46.3 degrees at 3.20pm.
Temperatures had already exceeded 40 degrees by 11.30am, sending locals inside where air conditioning units are working overtime.
The previous hottest day on record was in 2009 when it reached 42.3 degrees on December 17, though there is some conjecture with suggestions the record was broken in 2017.
Regardless, 46.3 sets a new December record.
It’ll remain hot this afternoon but a cool change is coming, with temperatures set to drop to around 25 degrees by 8pm tonight.
Planned fireworks at Panthers Leagues Club will go ahead as planned, with club officials working with the Rural Fire Service to ensure it is safe for the event to proceed.
While there are no fires burning in the Penrith LGA today, the emergency has reached crisis point again across New South Wales, with eight blazes burning at Emergency Level.
Road closures are changing constantly – some with little notice – and drivers are urged to avoid unnecessary travel and reconsider holiday plans if they are heading to a fire impacted region.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command’s Assistant Commissioner, Michael Corboy, also reminded drivers celebrating the New Year to avoid driving if they have been drinking.
“We know many people will be enjoying New Year’s Eve celebrations with alcohol, so do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking,” he said.
“Alcohol leaves the body slowly, which means you could very well still be over the limit the next day – have a Plan B and arrange to have a designated driver.”
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.