CANBERRA: Heatwaves in Australia are increasing in intensity and are lasting longer this summer.
Southeastern Australia has baked in extreme temperatures this week, with Melbourne set for four consecutive days over 40 degree centigrade — a run not replicated since 1908. Adelaide is due to go further and have five days over 40 degree centigrade, with Thursday’s 46 degree centigrade threatening to break city’s record temperature of 46.1 degree centigrade.
And extreme temperature continues to bake the nation at the end of this week.
According to local media, Adelaide, capital city of South Australia, is in its fifth straight day of extreme heat, with the temperature again tipped to soar past 40 degree centigrade in the city. On Friday morning, the temperature was 29.1 degree centigrade in Adelaide, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecasting a max of 42 degree centigrade in the city.
The report of the Australian Associated Press (AAP) said if Adelaide passes 40 degree centigrade on Friday, it will make it the city’s fifth day in a row of 40 degree centigrade-plus temperatures, making it the third worst heatwave on record.
Melbourne, capital city of Victoria, is also set to swelter above 40 degree centigrade for a fourth day. The BoM said temperatures are expected to hit 44 in Melbourne, the final day of this week’s heatwave, a day after it recorded its hottest day since Feb. 7, 2009, Black Saturday, reaching 43.9 on Thursday.
That Black Saturday led to deadly bushfires swept through the southern state of Victoria, leaving 173 people dead and 500 injured. On that day, Victorians were told to brace for the”worst day” in the state’s history; weather forecasters warned of a record heat wave with temperatures soaring to 46.4 degree centigrade, combined with gale-force winds of up to 90 km/hr.
And the Australian Capital Territory is bracing for another day of blistering hot temperatures. According to the BoM, temperatures in Canberra are expected to hit 41 degree centigrade on Friday.
Even Tasmania’s capital city Hobart is set to swelter through extreme heat on Friday with the temperature tipped to reach almost 40 in the city. The BoM forecast a temperature of 38 degree centigrade in Hobart, before a cool change and possible thunderstorm move through Friday evening.
And a fire ban has been declared for south-eastern states. As heatwaves raged in south-eastern Australia almost the whole week, more than 100 bushfires are burning across Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.
So far, In Victoria, there are 72 bushfires with 43 of them burning out of control; in South Australia hundreds of firefighters are battling around 16 blazes; and in NSW there are almost 50 blazes burning with 12 of them out of control.
People in these states also suffered the extreme temperatures. According to local media, Ambulance Victoria recorded 13 cases of heat exhaustion and seven cardiac arrests from midnight until 6.30 a.m. (AEDT). In the previous 24 hours, another 163 heat exhaustion cases, 37 cardiac arrests and nine cases of children locked in cars were reported.
As people tried to beat the heat, power use also set a record.
For instance, power use of Victoria surged to 10,300 megawatts on Thursday afternoon, its highest level yet during this week’s hot spell. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is expecting demand to top 10,000 megawatts again but the state has more power reserves after one of four generators at Loy Yang A power station broke down on Wednesday. PNA