The Bureau of Meteorology will be courtside throughout the Australian Open again this year, with forecasts showing players, umpires, ballkids and spectators can expect a cool start to the tournament, with a chance of showers.
Meteorologist Keris Arndt said he would be watching for signs of rain and high temperatures at Melbourne Park as the on-site weather expert, providing advice that helps inform important decisions about player safety and continuation of play.
“Any amount of rain makes a tennis court hazardous, and since the Australian Open is a majority-outdoor tournament, we’re constantly scanning for the chance of rain, even if it’s a small amount,” Mr Arndt said.
“This information helps organisers and umpires decide whether to close the rooves of indoor courts or dry the outdoor courts, as they don’t want to halt play to mop up if it’s going to rain again soon after.
“The Bureau will also be keeping an eye on the heat and humidity readings, as these also affect players’ health and their own decisions about how to adapt to conditions.
“It’s not only the players either – heat stress and rain-related injuries pose risks to ballkids, umpires and spectators, so organisers need to consider the broader impacts.”
Mr Arndt said Melbourne Park could expect a cooler start to the tournament from Monday with the threat of some showers, but by Friday and heading into the weekend, Melbourne was likely to see warm and dry conditions.
According to data held by the Bureau, the hottest day at the Australian Open was 45.1 degrees on 30 January 2009, which was also Melbourne’s third-highest temperature on record. This day followed two other extremely hot days – 43.4 on 28 January and 44.3 on 29 January – and was the only recorded instance of three consecutive days with temperatures of more than 43 degrees.
2014 was another extremely hot year, with four consecutive days of temperatures over 40 degrees recorded between 14 and 17 January. However, unlike the 2009 heatwave when most of the indoor courts could be used, the 2014 heatwave coincided with the first week of play when most matches were held on outdoor courts.
The wettest day during the Australian Open was in 1991, with 49.2 millimetres recorded on 23 January.
Know your weather, know your risk. If you’re attending the Australian Open, make sure you stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings, via the Bureau’s website, BOM Weather app and social media.