Adelaide has sweltered through the highest temperature ever recorded by a major Australian city, peaking at a searing 115.9 degrees Fahrenheit as the drought-parched nation heads toward potentially the hottest January on record. The South Australia state capital city of 1.3 million people on Thursday beat its previous 80-year-old record of 115 degrees set on Jan. 12, 1939, and records tumbled in smaller towns across the state, the AP reports. Adelaide beat the heat record set by Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, of 115.5 degrees set in 2009. Meteorologist Rob Sharpe said he wouldn't be surprised if January becomes Australia's hottest on record, with heat wave conditions likely to persist.
Adelaide's Red Lion Hotel promised free beer if the mercury topped 113 degrees, but only while it exceeded that benchmark. Bar manager Stephen Firth said the pub ran dry after giving away more than 185 gallons of beer over more than two hours. "We probably thought it would come around one day, but we didn't think it would be for such a prolonged period," Firth said. Heat wave conditions, combined with a prolonged drought across much of Australia's southeast, have led to scores of major wildfires during the Southern Hemisphere summer. Last year was Australia's third warmest on record. (Oceans are heating up faster than we knew.)