The new year is kicking off with a run of hot days in Canberra, with temperatures likely to exceed 30 degrees for at least the next week.
Heat has been building over inland parts of Australia over the last week and is now moving over the ACT. This brought Canberra's warmest night in a week after staying above 15 degrees overnight, which is four degrees above average.
With mostly sunny skies it is expected to reach 33 degrees on New Years Eve, six degrees above the December average. This would be the fifth time it has reached 33 degrees this month, in what has been the hottest December in three years. It will cool to the mid-to-high teens again for the evening fire works display overnight before maxing out at 33 once again on New Years Day.
The days will remain mostly sunny and hot for the first week of January, forecast to climb to at least 30 each day. If this happens it will be Canberra's longest spell of days over 30 degrees since early 2009 when the city sweltered through two weeks of 30-degree heat.
Next weekend is looking particularly hot, with Saturday expected to warm to at least 34 degrees. If the mercury tips 35 degrees it will be Canberra's hottest day since last summer.
© Weatherzone 2012
20:56 EDT A man has died after being struck by lightning while leaving a polling station with his family on the Gold Coast.