Adelaide’s mercury has reached a record high of 46.2C, toppling a heat record from 1939.
The Bureau of Meteorology reports that West Terrace recorded the highest temperature in 80 years at 1.42pm.
Adelaide-based Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Hilary Wilson told news.com.au several regions will see their records obliterated.
“We have very hot temperatures forecast that could see quite a number of records broken,” Ms Wilson said.
The “long list of potential record-breakers” includes Clare, north of Adelaide, that previously recorded a maximum all-time temperature of 43.7C. Clare is expected to reach 45C today.
Cummins, on the Eyre Peninsula, is expected to reach 47C, breaking a previous record of 46.2C, and Roseworthy, north of the capital, could break its previous record high of 46.7C. Temperatures there will top out at 47C during midafternoon.
Adelaide was forecast to hit 45C on Thursday, but went more than a degree higher just after lunchtime.
A Sky News forecast map shows those areas turning an ominous purple colour as the severe heatwave takes hold.
The hottest temperatures are expected to be recorded at Port Augusta, 300km north of Adelaide, where it could get as hot as 49C.
Adelaide residents sweltered through uncomfortable overnight lows of just 31.1C. It was 33C at 3am.
The record-high temperatures today come with elevated fire risk and warnings are in place across the state. CFS state duty commander Yvette Dowling said the soaring temperatures will be unmanageable in many parts of the state.
“If a fire does start with these forecast weather conditions, we’re not going to be able to control that fire,” she said.
She urged the public to avoid risky behaviour in order to minimise the bushfire threat.
“The communities are at risk, our firefighters are at risk, all emergency services are at risk tomorrow.”
Weather watchers from the Higgins Storm Chasing group told their 780,000 Facebook followers that conditions today were like a “blast furnace” and that “Black Saturday comes to mind when you think of this kind of heat”.
“While some people may think this is just Summer ... its far from it,” the group wrote.
SA Health chief medical officer Paddy Phillips said the heatwave will be worse than last week’s, when some parts of the state recorded four days above 40C.
“In last week’s heatwave we saw 69 people present to hospitals across the state with heat-related conditions and 31 of those were admitted,” Prof Phillips said.
But Ms Wilson reckons there’s relief in sight.
“For Adelaide, a southwesterly wind change will move through around midnight and temperatures should be cooler tomorrow,” she said.
Victorians will sweat through another hot day today but it will be even hotter tomorrow.
Melbourne is forecast to reach 36C today before the mercury climbs past 40C tomorrow.
Overnight, temperatures won’t drop below 29C, making it the hottest night of the year so far, before a high of 43C tomorrow.
“The overnight minimum temperatures are nothing short of oppressive unfortunately,” the BOM’s Richard Russell said.
The heat in Victoria has already cut power to thousands of properties in the state’s central north. More than 2700 AusNet customers were hit with a power outage near Nagambie and an underground cable fault might not be fixed until 5pm.