A severe four-day heatwave is set to grip large parts of South Australia from Friday, as the state’s festival season reaches its peak.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted temperatures will be 10 to 15 degrees above average in many parts of the state until mid-next week.

BOM Meteorologist Jonathan Fischer said it was unusual to have such an extended period of hot weather at this time of year.

“Over the last four Marches, so the last four years, we’ve only had one day in total above 35 degrees [Celsius], so to have four to five days in a row is actually quite significant, particularly at this time of year with all the outdoor events happening,” he said. 

The long weekend will see crowds descend on WOMADelaide, the Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival and the Adelaide Cup.

SES Chief of Staff Derren Halleday urged people attending events this weekend to take precautions.

“We’re asking people to stay hyper vigilant in his heat, to make sure they pre-hydrate, and make sure they keep a very close eye on each other,” he said. 

Not the time to ‘skimp and save’

Authorities are also urging people not to try to conserve electricity during the heatwave.

“Consider sleeping in the coolest part of the house, making sure that air conditioners are actually turned on,” Mr Halleday said. 

“This isn’t the time, even in the cost of living crisis, to scrimp and save on electricity.”

He said people should not underestimate the risk of extreme heat.

“A heatwave in South Australia has more fatalities involved in it than all of the other natural hazards put together,” Mr Halleday said.

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said people should exercise early, move appointments away from the middle of the day and keep hydrated.

“Keep up drinking, and I’m talking about water here, give alcohol and caffeine a miss, it’s not rehydrating, it can do you harm,” Professor Spurrier said. 

“We all can be vulnerable if we put ourselves in the situation of being right out in the middle of the day, at 3 o’clock when it’s the hottest part of the day.

A summer day at the beach in Adelaide.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

“There are higher vulnerabilities for infants and children, also women who are pregnant, and also for older people.

“So, people that have those higher vulnerability, just check in on them, make sure they’ve got enough water to drink and they know what they’re doing to keep cool during the day.”

The SES also warned the public to avoid standing under trees during the heat.

“During these periods of time we do have challenges with trees, with the amount of time we’ve had with the dry weather we do see an increase in dropping limbs,” Mr Halleday said. 

Fire authorities warn of bushfire danger on Saturday

The most dangerous fire conditions are expected on Saturday, according to Brenton Hastings from the SA Country Fire Service (CFS).

Total fire bans will be determined on Friday afternoon, but fire authorities are bracing for extreme conditions on Saturday across the Mount Lofty Ranges, the Mid North and Lower South East, and elevated fire risk across the rest of the state.

“CFS will ensure our command centres are stood up, our volunteers are ready to go 24-7 to support communities if we do see an incident occur,” he said. 

“But we are just asking the community to be ready to activate their bushfire survival plan, especially in those areas.

“Summer might be over, but there remains a bushfire risk.”

Don’t forget about pets

SA authorities said people needed to ensure pets were kept safe during the heatwave.

“Keep them in the shade, make sure there’s iced water available for them, and don’t over-exercise them,” Mr Halleday said.

The BOM said a reprieve from the heat in Adelaide would start to arrive on Tuesday, but there was no rain forecast for the city.

Posted , updated