Scorcher melts away the records

THE Hunter sweltered through its hottest day on record yesterday, with records smashed across the region.

Lake Macquarie was the hottest spot in the Hunter, hitting 45.2 degrees to easily surpass its previous high of 41.8.

Newcastle recorded its highest temperature, with the mercury hitting 42.5 degrees at Nobbys Beach at 3.20pm.

Nobbys' previous hottest day on record was 42 degrees on December 23, 1990.

In the Valley, Cessnock recorded a maximum of 45 degrees, just beating its February 2006 record of 44.9 degrees.

Eleven people were taken to hospital after suffering severe heat stress at the Glenrock Scout Camp.

Two women, aged 23 and 20, lost consciousness and needed to be stretchered out of the Kahibah camp.

The Ambulance Service of NSW used a bus to transport the eleven patients to John Hunter Hospital for treatment.

The Central Coast recorded similar blistering conditions with Gosford claiming its hottest day of 44.8 degrees. The city has never recorded temperatures above 44 degrees.

At 8.30pm, the weather bureau issued a severe storm warning for the region.

Weatherwatch senior meteorologist Don White said Australia had seen the last of the heatwave that had covered most of country for the past fortnight.

"This will be the hottest day of summer. We don't expect temperatures like this again this year," he said.

A trough moved across the state from central Australia, bringing the mighty blast of inland heat yesterday.

The last burst of scorching heat from the prolonged heatwave was felt across Wollongong, Sydney and Newcastle.

The extreme temperatures caused major distribution to trains, sporting events and the distribution of frozen food.

Trains across the CityRail network were delayed up to 60 minutes due to overhead wiring and signal problems caused by the extreme heat.

Buses replaced trains between Wyong and Fassifern on the Newcastle and Central Coast Line due to overhead wiring problems at Dora Creek.

Generators at Mayfield Woolworths and Coles at Waratah broke down in the heat preventing the stores from selling meats, deli goods and some frozen foods for several hours.

The Gardens greyhound meeting at Wallsend was abandoned due to excessive heat, as was Gosford's twilight gallops meeting.

Temperatures are set to cool today, with a top of 24 degrees.

Some try to hide, others just sweat it out

MANY Hunter residents hid beneath their airconditioners as temperatures tipped  40degrees yesterday. 

In Newcastle, there was no respite for beach-goers at Nobbys Beach who were battling 39degree temperatures by 12.30pm before the mercury hit an all-time high of 42.5degrees at 3.20pm.

Those who did brave the beach were taking quick dips in the ocean before returning to shaded areas.

Canberra-based Melanie Thompson was holidaying in Newcastle for the first time with her family, 

She took four-year-old 

Hayley and 10-year-old Krystal for a quick swim at Merewether Beach.

‘‘This is the second time in two days we’ve taken the girls to the beach,’’ Mrs Thompson said.

‘‘We didn’t realise it was going to be quite this warm.’’

Brickies labourer Mick Lloyd, 23, was forced to take regular breaks as he worked on new homes at Aberglasslyn.

‘‘We have been constantly drinking water and drowning ourselves in it all day,’’ he said.

He said there was not a lot of shade and no cool breeze so workers were forced to swelter in 40degree temperatures.

Meanwhile Merewether great-grandfather Les Simon, 76, was determined to still complete his daily swim despite the soaring heat.

He hit the ocean at Merewether at 1pm finding relief in the ‘‘cool water’’.

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