By the time summer arrived in late 2019 much of the country was already in drought. Below average rainfall and high temperatures signalled danger ahead. On 19 December Nullarbor in South Australia hit 49.9 degrees Celsius, an Australian record for December. By January, with fires raging across states and territories, the Bureau of Meteorology confirmed what many people suspected — that 2019 had been the warmest and driest on record. Australia was indeed toast.

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