Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 August 2019

Australia's blistering 46°C heatwave: air-conditioning demand knocks out power

It's hot enough to fry your breakfast

Demand for air-conditiong during Australia's record-breaking heatwave triggered power outages in Melbourne as coal-fired generators struggled to meet the surge in consumption.

The scorching temperatures suspended play at the Autralian Open in the city with Friday predicted to be the hottest in a decade.

Firefighters were on alert for bushfires as the mercury rose to an expected maximum of 44°C, the highest since Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 that killed about 180 people in the southeastern state of Victoria.

"Glam Slam and Australian Tennis Championships matches have been suspended on all outside courts at Melbourne Park and Albert Reserve," tournament organisers said on social media.

Fire officials in northern Victoria set the danger rating to "extreme," while bushfires raging out of control around eastern Timbarra prompted an emergency warning to campers.

In Tasmania, officials issued eight emergency warnings.

"We've got a lot of fire in the landscape," state fire official Andrew McGuinness told broadcaster ABC. "Some of those fires are quite large. And already, we're seeing quite nasty fire weather conditions."

Adelaide, 640 kilometers west of Melbourne, on Thursday recorded the hottest day for a major Australian city, a searing 46.6°C.

The previous record had been the 46.4°C set in Melbourne on Black Saturday.

Updated: January 25, 2019 11:12 AM

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