South Australia’s record-breaking heatwave is starting to take its toll and while some relief is just around the corner, latest forecasts suggest the severe conditions will return next week.
Over the 24 hours to Wednesday midafternoon, 16 people with heat-related conditions presented at emergency departments across the state with seven admitted for further treatment.
More admissions were expected with authorities warning health issues were more likely after several days of sustained hot weather.
“Usually we see presentations at hospitals after a few days and we’re starting to collect that data,” SA chief medical officer Paddy Phillips said.
Over the past three days, maximum temperatures across South Australian have been running 10 to 14 degrees above average.
Some regional centres posted record highs on Tuesday, including Port Augusta and Tarcoola where the mercury climbed close to 50C.
Tarcoola was among the hottest spots again on Wednesday with a top of 48.7C while Coober Pedy had 47.8C and Woomera 47.6C.
Adelaide had a top of 40.2C in the city but temperatures were slightly higher in some outlying suburbs.
SA’s State Emergency Service is maintaining an Extreme Heatwave Emergency Warning and the state government has declared a Code Red during the current conditions.
The Code Red triggers extra funding so services for the homeless can be extended while a special phone line is also operating to provide regular checks on the elderly and others at risk.
For the second day in a row, cyclists in the Tour Down Under braved the scorching conditions with organisers opting to shorten the stage from suburban Norwood to Angaston, in the Barossa Valley.
There were no reports of riders having heat-related issues as they used ice, litres and litres of cold water and special cool vests to get them through.
The Bureau of Meteorology said temperatures were expected to ease marginally on Thursday and then cool further over the following three days.
But the heat was expected to return next week with Adelaide forecast to have tops in the mid-to-high 30s from Monday until at least Wednesday.