Dangerous heat to threaten play at 2018 Australian Open into Friday

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
January 19, 2018, 5:48:53 AM EST

It would not be a typical Australian Open without a stretch of hot weather putting a strain on players and fans, and that will be the case once again during this year’s tournament.

A change in the wind direction will pull hot air from the interior of Australia all the way to the Victorian coastline and set the stage for intense heat to build across Melbourne through Friday.

This will be a dramatic change from Monday when temperatures were held to around 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). The normal high in Melbourne this time of year is around 26 C (78 F).

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“The setup for Friday is conducive for temperatures to soar well above normal in Melbourne,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty said, adding that "temperatures may approach 40 C (104 F)."

Fans and players will have to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This includes drinking plenty of water and wearing light-colored clothing.

If temperatures climb slightly higher than anticipated, play could be impacted.

“The Australian Open has an Extreme Heat Policy,” the tournament’s official website stated. “The decision to suspend play [for the policy] is made at the referee’s discretion.”

The policy goes into effect “once the ambient (surrounding temperature) exceeds 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and the Wet Bulb Global Temperature reading exceeds 32.5 C (90.5 F).”

Australian open Jan 12

Defending men's singles champion Switzerland's Roger Federer wipes the sweat from his face during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The Wet Bulb Global Temperature accounts for temperature, humidity, sun angle, solar radiation and wind speed. Those same components are part of the equation used to calculate the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will be surpassing 40 C (104 F) on Friday under blazing sunshine.

Melbourne Park, home to the Australian Open, has three courts with retractable roofs. Other courts used by the tournament offer no protection against adverse weather.

Lower temperatures are expected to arrive by the weekend, bringing welcome relief to both players and spectators.

A few showers and perhaps a thunderstorm are possible from Saturday evening into Sunday morning.

Dry and seasonably cool weather is expected during the first half of next week.

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