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SYDNEY, January 3 (Itar-Tass) — The year 2013 in southern Australia began with hot and dry weather, and temperatures are set to reach over 40 degrees Celsius in the country's second largest city Melbourne and beat the temperature records of the scorching summer of 1972, the national bureau of meteorology reported.
Victoria and southern districts of the neighboring New South Wales have banned making fires, and some towns and settlements ration the consumption of water. The hot spell will last at least until mid-January, when cool southern winds from the Antarctic will blow.
Late December and January is a period of summer and school holidays in Australia. Many Australians travel to the southeast of the country where many recreation zones are located.
Hot weather has spared the country's largest city of Syndey so far. The temperature there was "just" plus 25 degrees Celsius on Thursday, but a "warmer spell" with temperatures rising up to 32-35 degrees Celsius is expected next weekend.