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Australia Day celebrations cancelled in Adelaide due to heatwave

Staff Writer |
Australia Day celebrations in the city of Adelaide have been cancelled due to a forecast of severe heatwave.

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The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) on Thursday warned that Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart would experience temperatures 10 degrees Celsius higher than the January average over the Australia Day long weekend.

Australia Day is celebrated on January 26, the anniversary of the British First Fleet landing on Australian shores in 1788.

Adelaide, capital of South Australia, had a series of events planned to celebrate the day but has moved to cancel some due to a forecast of 38 degrees Celsius.

Outdoor family and children's events have either been rescheduled or cancelled while a third of 50 planned events that were part of the Adelaide Hills Crush Festival in city's wine region have been cancelled.

It is the second severe heatwave warning the BOM has issued for southeast Australia in as many weeks.

Heatwaves are Australia's deadliest natural phenomenon with one earlier in January hospitalizing 40 people in Adelaide alone.

John Nairn, national heatwave program director at the BOM, said that they are known as a "silent killer" because they affect victims on an individual basis.

"You don't see a column of smoke, you won't see the media crowding around the incident saying 'there it is, that's what's happened'," Nairn told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.

"If you end up in hospital, the medical teams will look after you very efficiently, but they are not about to engage the media over every death or admission into hospital."

Despite the extreme heat, a One Day International cricket match between Australia and England will go ahead as planned.

"It's going to be hot, but it's summer sport and I'm sure people coming along will equip themselves accordingly," Darren Chandler, a member of the Adelaide Oval's Stadium Management Authority, said.

"Everyone's got to be smart about it and find shade where they can. There's plenty of concourse areas people can retreat to in between overs."

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