Since the beginning of this winter season, much of North America has been stuck in a climate not unlike that of the frozen tundra of Antarctica, with record-breaking snowfall in places like Erie, Pennsylvania and a bomb cyclone sending the Northeast U.S. into temperatures lower than the surface of Mars. On the opposite side of the extreme weather spectrum, however, Sydney, Australia is facing temperature highs that are frighteningly close to the 1939 record of 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.8 degrees Celsius).

How is this affecting the population?

According to CBS News, the Police Deputy Commissioner of New South Wales (Catherine Burn) said the state activated its heat wave plan in an attempt to combat the extreme and dangerous conditions.

Parts of this plan include a fire ban and an urge for citizens to stay hydrated and sheltered from the sweltering heat.

Professional athletes playing tennis and cricket in Sydney during the last week or so have felt the heat, as well -- both in the game and in the climate. French tennis star Kristina Mladenovic was forced to retire in the middle of a match, the first time in her career, according to a tweet from Sunday. In addition, English cricket captain Joe Root had to be hospitalized due to dehydration, according to TIME. Both athletes hail from Western Europe, and are therefore used to a generally cooler climate.

While this has certainly negatively affected much of the state of New South Wales, with numerous wildfires spreading across the land, thousands of homes left without electricity, and the roads in the city of Sydney literally melting, some members of the population have taken advantage of the heat, spending their free time at the beaches lining the coast, proof that every negative event can have a silver lining.

The extreme contrast to the United States

According to a Saturday tweet from a Twitter account dedicated to reporting incidents in New South Wales, the Sydney Metropolitan Area reported a record-breaking temperature of 116.8 degrees Fahrenheit (47.1 Celsius), in severe contrast to a Tweet from the National Weather Service reporting an all-time low for January 6 at 8 degrees Fahrenheit (-13 Celsius.)

Australia is looking at a continuation of the hot weather, with a little rain toward the end of the week, according to most weather reports.

This rain should help the state of New South Wales cool down a bit in preparation for more heat as the season goes on. The United States, on the other hand, is looking forward to even more winter storms, especially on the Eastern seaboard and surrounding the Ohio Valley.