Australian Open tennis matches halted by heatwave
High temperatures have halted matches at the Australian Open tennis tournament, as a report warns that Australia will see hotter heatwaves.
Melbourne, where the tournament is held, is seeing a third consecutive day of heat above 40C, with temperatures of 41.7C (107F) on Thursday.
Australia’s Climate Council says in a report that the number of hot days in the country has “more than doubled”.
2013 was recently declared Australia’s hottest year on record.
The Climate Council report attributed the development to climate change, caused by greenhouse gases.
Fire bans are in place across the states of Victoria and South Australia, as firefighters battle bushfires.
In Victoria, several fire emergency warnings have been issued, as fires in the Northern Grampians area merged into one “out of control” bushfire and residents were urged to evacuated.
Australian Open organizers said their extreme heat policy was in force, with matches on outside courts being suspended at the end of their sets.
Matches at Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena would continue with a closed roof, they said in a statement,
Play was scheduled to resume on outside courts at 18:00 local time.
Tournament officials say temperature, wind direction and humidity are taken into account when implementing the extreme heat policy.
On Tuesday, a tennis player and a ball boy fainted in the heat during the tournament. Organizers were criticized for allowing the tournament to continue.
Meanwhile, an interim report from the Climate Council said the number of heatwaves in Australia was “projected to increase significantly.”
In the South Australian capital, Adelaide, temperatures were forecast to reach 46C, nearing the city’s record of 46.1C.
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