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Hay, Ivanhoe and Bourke in NSW and Mildura in Victoria were among the towns expecting 45C on Friday, while South Australia’s Renmark was due to hit a peak of 46C.
Adelaide hit 29.6C before 7am on Friday, as temperatures across the state head towards the mid-40s.
Catastrophic fire danger ratings were declared for the mid-north, Flinders, Yorke Peninsula, Riverland and eastern Eyre Peninsula districts, while five regions face extreme fire danger.
Any fires that did start would be “incredibly difficult” for firefighters to control, CFS chief officer Brett Loughlin said.
After Friday’s heat, temperatures will dip to the low to mid-20s across much of SA on Saturday, with Adelaide forecast to have up to 60mm of rain over the weekend.
High temperatures sparked a warning to employers to protect their workers and develop a workplace heat-management plan to ensure safety.
Parts of Queensland, West Australia, the Northern Territory and ACT have also copped soaring temperatures that are expected to intensify over the weekend.