Oppressive heat has been gripping southeastern Australia for days. While it is summer there and high temperatures are expected, this heat has been extreme.
In the state of Victoria, temperatures soared above 40°C – that is 104°F – for four consecutive days. In the neighboring state of South Australia, the mercury hit 44.2°C (112°F) in Adelaide – making it the hottest city in the world on Thursday. Officials say this intense heat has fueled wildfires, sent hundreds of people to the hospital with heat related illnesses, and caused widespread power outages. In Melbourne, it even caused play to be suspended at the Australian Open – a Grand Slam tennis tournament.
Scorching heat waves seem to be getting more common in Australia. Last year, the country’s hottest on record, the Bureau of Meteorology had to add two new colors to their weather map to reflect the higher temperatures.
This current heat wave is forecast to break over the weekend and a dramatic cool down is expected to follow.