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South-eastern Australia swelters as temperature records tumble in autumn heatwave

Temperatures in Adelaide climbed to almost 40 degrees as an autumn heatwave affected multiple states.

Temperatures in Adelaide climbed to almost 40 degrees as an autumn heatwave affected multiple states. Photo: AAP

Records have been smashed as people in south-eastern Australia swelter through an autumn heatwave over the long weekend.

Melbourne and Hobart sizzled overnight, with the Bureau of Meteorology recording unprecedented temperatures for both cities.

“There is going to be a lot of tired and cranky people across south-eastern Australia,” meteorologist Sarah Scully said on Sunday.

Melbourne sweated as the mercury hovered near 30 degrees Celsius for most of Saturday night before dropping to 27.3 degrees early on Sunday, toppling the previous March record high minimum temperature of 26.5 degrees in 2013.

Hobart was also uncomfortably hot overnight, with a minimum temperature of 24 degrees, well above the previous March record of 21.1 degrees, Scully said.

Authorities issued a total fire ban for parts of South Australia on Sunday, as the mercury soared into the high 30s and 40s across most of the state.

The bureau has warned the heatwave conditions will persist into next week in parts of New South Wales, Tasmania and SA, and most of Victoria, where a total fire ban has been issued for the state’s south-west on Monday.

Melbourne peaked at 36.9 degrees late on Sunday, with Avalon recording 40 degrees and Geelong 39.6 degrees.

Temperatures were much cooler in Tasmania as a cold front pushed across the state, with Hobart’s maximum temperature of 25.7 degrees recorded before 8am.

Extreme conditions earlier in the weekend forced event organisers to cancel some outdoor festivals and parades.

Melbourne’s famous Moomba Parade was cancelled on Saturday due safety concerns for performers and spectators.

“This is a very difficult decision, particularly in Moomba’s 70th year, but we must prioritise people’s health in these extreme conditions,” Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said in a statement.

“Parade participants are required to spend several hours outdoors in hot, heavy costumes – putting them at greater risk.”

Patrons at the Pitch Music and Arts Festival in south-west Victoria were told to leave by Saturday morning as those yet to arrive were warned to stay away.

“If you are arriving on Saturday we recommend delaying your arrival until further notice,” the Pitch Instagram post read.

“The forecast tells us to expect hot weather each day of the festival. In addition, overnights will also be warm.”

One of the stages at Adelaide’s WOMAD was closed on Sunday due to the heat, while a handful of other events were postponed till late at night or cancelled as temperatures climbed to almost 40 degrees.

Of 71 people who sought first aid from St John Ambulance, more than half had minor complaints related to the heat, while crowds gathered around the mist generated by hoses suspended in the air.

Melbourne is tipped to reach a maximum of 37 degrees on Monday, with temperatures in the mid to high 30s predicted across most of the state.

Adelaide is expected to climb to 38 degrees, with hot conditions in the high 30s and low 40s predicted for most regional areas.

-AAP

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