SEVERE HEATWAVE SEES TEMPERATURES RISE OVER 50C IN AUSTRALIA BREAKING RECORDS
A day after a number of South Australian locations — including Adelaide — registered their hottest days on record, Victorians sweated through what may have been the hottest night on record.
South Australia’s energy network was pushed to the brink on Thursday.
Temperatures in southern Australia have shattered previous records after topping 49 degrees.
The Bureau of Meteorology reported temperatures of 49.1C north of Adelaide, while inside the city temperatures reached 46.6C, a fraction above a record that had stood since 1939.
Adelaide residents are used to sweltering days during the southern hemisphere summer, but even they struggled with the oppressive temperatures.
More than 13 towns across South Australia have smashed their own heat records, with some of the state forecast to see temperatures of 50 degrees by the end of the day.
The mercury reached 46.6C at the city’s West Terrace station at 3.36pm, breaking the previous record of 46.1C, which was set on January 12, 1939, earning Adelaide the title of the hottest city on the planet, the Adelaide Advertiser reported.
More heat records are expected to have toppled today.
Melbourne reached a peak of 42C after midday — just shy of the 44C predicted — before a cool change swept through and temperatures dropped by 12 C in just seven minutes.
Forecasters earlier predicted today’s heatwave would bring the hottest temperatures since Black Saturday in 2009 when 173 people died in bushfires.
In the north of the state, at Mildura, temperatures were is expected to peak at 47C today. It was 43C shortly after 3pm. Bairnsdale and Sale in the east could get to 45C and break their existing heat records.
It’s bad news for the thousands of Victorians who were without power overnight after the state’s third generator shut down. Authorities have been unable to rule out further blackouts today.
Michael Efron, senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria, told news.com.au the day would start out hot and get hotter, before a cool change dropped temperatures by more than 20 degrees in just half an hour.
“We expect the maximum temperature in Melbourne will be 44C about 2.30pm or 3pm before a southerly change that will bring squally winds and drop temperatures significantly.
“The highest temperatures are expected in the north but parts of Gippsland could break records.”
He said the warm weather from central Victoria had “built up” before being dragged south into Victoria.
Last night, parts of Melbourne recorded minimum overnight temperatures of 30.9C (Essendon) and 25.7C (CBD). Mr Efron said early indications were that records might have been nudged but the team will know more once they’re able to take a more detailed look.
The potentially record-breaking day of weather in Victoria follows South Australia’s own record-breaking weather on Thursday.
Adelaide’s mercury reached 46.6C yesterday, toppling a heat record from 1939.
Tasmanians are feeling the heat too as temperatures head towards the high 30s and bushfires rage out of control.
Residents in south and central parts of the state being told to leave their homes. The hazard is set to peak from 5am on Friday, with temperatures in the high 30s and wind gusts of up to 90km/h likely to fan dozens of fires already burning across the state.
Eight new fires started on Thursday, adding to 50 others across the state, with two-thirds considered uncontained. Some 64,000 hectares of land has been burned.
“The best thing people can do in these conditions is leave early,” the Tasmania Fire Service warned on Thursday. “A fire under the expected conditions can move very quickly with the potential for embers starting fires up to 20km ahead.
“Even those whose homes are well prepared to defend against fire will find their property is not defendable in these conditions.”
Adding to the challenge for fire crews on Friday, forecast winds mean waterbombing aircraft will be grounded.
Ground crews will be stepped up to try and cover the loss of aircraft but efforts will be prioritised in terms of human safety and property defence.
Several fires have the potential to threaten communities. A blaze at central Great Pine Tier could bear down on Shannon, Waddamana, Hilltop and Penstock Lagoon and the Gell River fire southwest of Hobart — which has been burning since December 28 — could reach Geeveston.
One house has been lost near central Miena, while residents remain on alert at Barren Tier, Zeehan, Rosebery, Lynch Hill, Tods Corner, Penstock Lagoon, Tahune Airwalk and Liawenee.
A statewide fire ban is in place until Monday.
Kenneth Mc Donagh from the Donegal Weather Channel
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