Three Hunter suburbs have sweltered through their hottest day in history.
Cessnock, Williamtown and Tocal in the lower Hunter Valley all recorded temperatures over 45°C.
The mercury climbed to a staggering 47°C in Tocal, 46.8°C in Cessnock and 45.5°C in Williamtown, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
While Sunday could be even worse, with catastrophic fire danger conditions forecast in the Hunter for the first time ever.
Local RFS and Fire and Rescue crews have been bolstered by extra volunteers sent up from Sydney to handle any fire emergency. The RFS is urging anyone near the bush to visit friends, family or even a local shopping centre for the day as a precaution.
"These aren't conditions we see every day across summer," said RFS spokesman Brendan Doyle. "These are extreme conditions. The safest place for catastrophic fire conditions is not to be in these at-risk areas.