Take Two for January 9, 2013

Australia burns as NOAA reports 2012 was hottest year on record in US

NSW Continues Bushfire Battle Following Heatwave

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

A ACT Rural Fire Service member watches water-bombing operations take place on a fire at Sandhills on January 9, 2013 in Bungendore, Australia. Temperatures cooled overnight offering relief to fire fighters following yesterday's heat wave recording temperatures of over 40-plus degrees across the state. Crews continue to fight blazes today, taking advantage of the improved conditions ahead fire danger conditions predicted later in the week.

According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2012 was the hottest year on record for the U.S. But in California, the snowpack is well above normal, so what's going on with the weather?  

An intense heat wave along with high winds has triggered scores of wildfires — or bush fires as they like to call them — across Australia. One of the hardest-hit areas is New South Wales, the country's most populous state, and home to its largest city, Sydney.  

The country has been so hot that the weather service had to add new colors in order to capture temperature at or above 130 degrees. 

Matt Inwood, superintendent at the headquarters of Australia's Rural Fire Service just outside Sydney, joins the show to tell us how his team is coping. 

How is California coping?

While Australians battle heat and bush fires, and much of the United States is still dealing with drought conditions, things are looking pretty good for California. 

As we mentioned, the snowpack is well above average levels, and California ski resorts are attracting lots of visitors that might normally head for places like Colorado, where the snowfall has been exceptionally sparse this year.

Then there's that new record. 2012 was the hottest year on record for the lower 48 states, and the temperatures were more than three degrees above the average temperature for the 20th century as a whole.

Here to break down what this means is Jeff Masters,  a meteorologist and the founder of the popular weather site Wunderground.com.   


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