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Thursday, December 18, 2014, 9:19 p.m.
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Australia swelters in heat wave

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 9, 2014 at 7:33 a.m.

CANBERRA, Australia — Bats are dropping from trees, kangaroos are collapsing in the Outback and gardens are turning brown. While North America freezes under record polar temperatures, the southern hemisphere is experiencing the opposite extreme as heat records are being set in Australia after the hottest year ever.

Weather forecasters in Australia said some parts of the sparsely populated Pilbara region along the rugged northwest coast were approaching 122 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday. The record high of 123.3 F was set in 1960 in Oodnadatta, South Australia state.

Brazil is also sizzling, with the heat index reaching 120 degrees. Zookeepers in Rio de Janeiro were giving animals ice pops to beat the heat.

The late arrival of the monsoon in northern Australia, which has a cooling effect, is contributing to the searing heat, said Karly Braganza, the manager of climate monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology.

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