SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Power outages hit around 45,000 homes across Sydney's upmarket eastern suburbs on Thursday (Jan 31) as a forecast 40 deg C heatwave hit the harbourside city, with media reports of people being trapped in lifts and one hospital losing power.
As Australia swelters in a protracted heatwave which has lasted weeks, distribution company Ausgrid said emergency crews were investigating the cause of the widespread outage, which is rare in the eastern beachside suburbs.
Power was lost to homes and businesses in suburbs from beachfront Bondi to the well-heeled areas of Double Bay and Woollahra. Police warned drivers to take care, with dozens of traffic lights blacked out.
Ausgrid, which provides power to more than 1.7 million customers down the east coast, later said power had been restored to 10,000 homes around Double Bay.
Australia's bureau of meteorology on Thursday warned that hot dry weather could persist to the end of April, with a 70 per cent chance the majority of the country would experience above average temperatures.
A record-breaking heatwave across south-eastern Australia earlier this month triggered outages in some areas and sent power prices soaring, while bush fires have destroyed homes in the southern island state of Tasmania.