The temperature reached 46.4C (115.5F) before dropping to a more tolerable 30C (86F) by early evening. With the heat came strong northerly winds. Authorities issued warnings that the conditions today would be similar to those on Ash Wednesday, 1983, when huge fires burned out of control across Victoria and South Australia, killing 75 people and destroying thousands of buildings. They were right.
Dozens of bushfires started today, many of which are still burning out of control. Some fires cover thousands of hectares. According to the people on the front lines, it's likely that there'll be a major loss of property. My friend Chuckie has posted photos of the fires near him at Kinglake.
ABC News has excellent coverage, including extraordinary pictures of the fires.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the continent, the town of Ingham (home to Tyto Tony … and about 13,000 other people) is experiencing its worst floods ever.