A statewide "Code Red" alert has been issued in South Australia on Monday, December 16, 2019, as an extreme heatwave is expected to hit the state and eastern parts of the country this week, with Adelaide likely reaching or exceeding 40 °C (104 °F) for four days in a row, while Broken Hill and Mildura are predicted to swelter in five consecutive days. Authorities said Australia as a whole could record its hottest day this week.
Code red indicates extra accommodation and services for those sleeping rough, including at Adelaide's Hutt Street Center and Baptist Care SA's Westcare Center.
The alert was issued to notify agencies to provide extra services for those who were most vulnerable, said SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.
SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the purpose of the code red was to alert all agencies to provide extra services for those who were most vulnerable.
"Also, a high alert to the general community to ring an elderly relative, check on a neighbor and obviously provide support during this time," she said.
According to Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink, South Australians were not used to dealing with such kind of temperatures, and it was important to make extra support available.
"In terms of rough sleepers, there are additional services here through Hutt Street, through services to youth, through Baptist Care and the assertive outreach program, which operates throughout Adelaide's CBD," Lensink said.
In addition, the Australian Red Cross service would also be activating its Telecross REDI service from Tuesday, December 17.
"That service will phone people who have been registered as vulnerable and needing a telephone call to check up on them three times a day."
WATCH:- Update on extreme heatwave sweeping across the country including #SouthAustralia this week. #Heatwaves are Australia's deadliest severe weather - for advice on how to keep yourself and your pets safe during heatwaves, visit @SAHealth and @SA_SES https://t.co/m0x42fXfeY— Bureau of Meteorology, South Australia (@BOM_SA) December 16, 2019
Brace yourself from the heat affecting #SouthAustralia this week. While daily max temps are very high over extensive areas, do note overnight temps are quite high also, creating heat stress. Visit @SA_SES webpage https://t.co/plWuFIxfhi for ways to stay safe.#SAHeatwave pic.twitter.com/k0SGiDlcg6— Bureau of Meteorology, South Australia (@BOM_SA) December 16, 2019
"It's really important that people can seek shelter and can get some relief from the heat because a number of our clients have got some chronic health diseases and health issues," Hutt Street Center acting chief executive Lynda Forrest said.
Parts of SA, Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales, are predicted to swelter through temperatures in the mid to high 40 °C (104 °F), which may also increase the risk of bushfire.
In remote parts of South Australia such as the Nullarbor Plain, temperatures are forecast to hit 50 °C (122 °F).
The State Emergency Service (SES) issued a community readiness alert on Sunday, December 15, advising residents to take precautions, while SA Health also urged people to prepare.
"Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are a real risk. The body struggles to cope with temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F)," acting chief health officer Chris Lease said.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior meteorologist Paul Lainio, much of the state was already experiencing smoldering temperatures, and the heat will continue to build.
"As you'd expect with such hot days, the temperature just can't really drop very much so, much of the state [will be] experiencing in the mid-20s. Very, very uncomfortable nights."
"The hottest day on record previously was 40.3 °C (104.5 °F) when you look at Australia as a whole. We may exceed that for a number of days this week," Lainio warned.
Featured image credit: windy.com (December 20, 2019)