Extreme weather: Australia’s heatwave breaks records as US braces for lows of -45C | World News

Adelaide has endured the highest-ever temperature in a major Australian city, but as the heatwave continues Down Under, parts of the US could see Siberian-like lows of -45.5C (50F).

Melbourne also had its hottest day in five years. Temperatures hit 42.8C (109F) early on Friday afternoon – reaching 46C (114.8F) at the city’s airport.

A man cools down in front of a mist fan for relief from the hot weather on day 12 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne
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A man cools down in front of a mist fan at the Australian Open in Melbourne

The extreme heat policy at the Australian Open kicked in and the stadium’s roof was closed as spectators sought refuge in the shade – with others cooling off in water fountains.

Adelaide, some 450 miles to the west, notched up the new high of 46.2C (115.16F) on Thursday.

 A young fan cools off a fountain in the hot conditions during day 11 of the 2019 Australian Open
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Some people have been taking a dip in the fountains at the tennis tournament

Electricity outages of up to two hours have also taken place in the state of Victoria as the power grid struggles with demand – with Australians cranking up their air conditioning to cope with the sweltering heat.

In Tasmania, there are eight emergency warnings because of fierce bushfires.

A large bushfire burns in Tasmania, Australia, in this undated photo courtesy of Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.
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Bushfires are burning in Tasmania

Forecasters say Australia may be on course for its warmest January ever after weeks of temperatures over 40C (104F).

Meteorologist Kevin Parkin said the country has been experiencing “relentless days of 40-plus degrees followed by warm nights” and that the heatwave were “almost unprecedented”.

The US is also experiencing its own extreme weather, with the National Weather Service (NWS) saying wind chill temperatures this weekend in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota could plunge to between -40C (-40F) and -45.5C (-50F).

Frostbite can occur in less than 15 minutes in such extreme conditions and people are being warned to limit their outdoor exposure.

“Temperatures will be 10 to 25 degrees below average over the Upper Midwest,” the NWS said in a weather alert.

An aerial photo taken over the American side shows water flowing around ice due to subzero temperatures in Niagara Falls, New York
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Chunks of ice have formed at Niagra Falls
Workers deice a Southwest Airline's aircraft at Midway Airport on January 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
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Planes are having to be deiced at airports in the Midwest, such as here in Chicago

Planes at the region’s airports were having to be routinely deiced before take-off, while events at Minnesota’s winter carnival were cancelled and outdoor skating rinks shut down in parts of South Dakota.

Niagara Falls was also pictured partially frozen this week, with large chunks of ice in the water at the famous site in New York state.

The freezing temperatures are expected to linger into next week.

The Earth was slightly colder last year than the previous few years – but still the fourth-warmest recorded, according to new research by one climate research group – California’s Berkeley Earth.

Last year’s average was 14.96C (58.93F).

That is 0.77C (1.39F) warmer than the average from 1951 to 1980 and about 2.09F (1.16C) warmer than preindustrial times.

Berkeley Earth’s Zeke Hausfather said the dip last year was extremely unlikely to be a cooling trend and the long-term warming of the planet was “stunningly clear”.

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