Summer arrives with a punchSaturday December 1, 2012 - 07:36 EDT
Sweltering conditions will continue across the New South Wales Hunter Valley today, after the mercury soared Friday.
Several inland areas recorded temperatures above 40 degrees yesterday afternoon.
As a result firefighters across the region stood ready to act in the event of bushfires.
Grant Conway from the Williamtown Bureau of Meteorology says it will be hot again today.
"The first day of summer it's going to turn out to be a true summers day." he said.
"It'll be humid and we're looking at maximums of 43 in the Upper Hunter and it could even get warmer and so it's going to be another hot and humid day until that southerly change comes through on early Sunday morning and cools things down a bit."
It has been a dry Spring across the region.
Rainfall has been hard to come by in the Upper and Lower Hunter, prompting fears that rural areas will slip back into drought.
Farmers are activating strategies to ensure their businesses get through the dry weather.
Grant Conway says rain has been scarce in many areas.
"The total rainfall for Nobbys was 48 millimetres and the average is 217 so well below and that's pretty much reflected right across the Hunter." he said.
"At Tocal you're looking at 53.6 for total rainfall for Spring and the average is 203 and here at Williamtown we had 57.4 and our average is 218."
© ABC 2012
More breaking news
Thunderstorms are on the move through New South Wales and southern Queensland once again today, while southern states shiver.
The most widespread heat in five years could grip parts of southern and eastern Australia next week.
Parts of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia could be lashed by storms and damaging winds on Thursday as a cold front sweeps across Australia's southeast.