A young fan cools off a fountain in the hot conditions during day 11 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Jan. 24, 2019.
Matt King—Getty Images
By Associated Press
January 25, 2019

(MELBOURNE) — Melbourne residents were warned that they could endure power outages on Friday as Australia’s second-largest city is forecast to experience its hottest day in a decade.

The Victoria state capital, with a population of 5 million, is set to reach 111 degrees Fahrenheit. That would be Melbourne’s hottest day since Feb. 7, 2009 — a day of catastrophic wildfires that than is remembered as Black Saturday.

That day, the temperature soared to 115.5 F. Wildfires killed 173 people and razed more than 2,000 homes in Victoria.

Scores of wildfires are raging in heatwave conditions across much of drought-parched southeast Australia, with authorities warning the fire risk is high.

Victoria Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said three power generators in the state had shut down, as infrastructure struggled to keep up with the power demand of air-conditioners.

“This means we can’t rule out brown-outs,” she told Radio 3AW.

She said it was “absolutely essential” for Victorians to cut back on power use where possible.

Black Saturday had been the hottest day ever recorded by a major Australian city until Adelaide reached a searing 115.9 F on Thursday.

The South Australia state capital of 1.3 million people — 400 miles west of Melbourne — beat its previous 80-year-old record of 115 F set on Jan. 12, 1939, and records tumbled in smaller towns across the state.

The South Australian town of Port Augusta, population 15,000, topped the state at 121.1 F.

The Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne invoked its extreme-heat policy on Thursday and closed the main stadium’s roof during a women’s semifinal match.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Rob Sharpe said he would not be surprised if this January becomes Australia’s hottest January on record with heatwave conditions likely to persist.

Last year was Australia’s third-warmest on record.

Contact us at editors@time.com.


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