A severe weather warning has been issued for Sydney, just hours after the city registered its hottest day on record.
The warning for heavy rain and damaging winds was also issued for the NSW Central Tablelands and parts of the Hunter, Illawarra and Central West Slopes and Plains Forecast Districts.
Earlier, the mercury hit 45.8 degrees in the city at 2.55pm. The previous high of 45.3 degrees was recorded in January 1939 at Observatory Hill.
Many parts of NSW had hovered around 45 degrees at lunchtime on Friday as a fiery air mass from inland Australia moved over the state, pushing the mercury well above the forecast maximum.
In Sydney, the original forecast was that the temperature would reach a maximum of 39 degrees in the city. But by 12.30pm the mercury had already hit a stifling 43.3 degrees at Observatory Hill, climbing to 45 degrees at 1.43pm, 45.2 degrees at 1.58pm, 45.3 degrees at 2.27pm and 45.7 degrees at 2.54pm. The city’s temperature dropped to 33.9 degrees at 5.04pm.