We’re Having a Heatwave….
‘I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me! ‘
From ‘My Country’ by Dorothea Mackellar
This week we had 4 consecutive days over thirty five degrees Celsius and every living creature felt its effects. Ok, as heatwaves go maybe it wasn’t the worst in the country, South Australia had a week of plus forty temperatures for a week last year, but this was memorable in its on way. For a start, the temperature at 3am on Wednesday soared to 27 degrees, an unknown concept for Canberra which boasts cool summer nights. The cumulative impact of this mini heatwave became obvious after two days. Heat induced dropsy-I spilled chilli on the floor and in trying to sweep it us knocked over a vase -, brain fugue, irritability, tetchiness at minor incidents which would normally be overlooked were some of the side effects of the inclement weather. And all of this occurred living in air-conditioning! I felt for those people in public housing in Victoria who, unable to afford aircon, spent the nights on mattresses in nearby ovals in an attempt at a sound night’s sleep.
Of course being Australian I should be used to living in a land of extremes but being human, I like everyone am captive to the punishing effects of extremes of weather on the physical body. Then I recalled a series of harsh days in Perth last summer where the temperature reached 44.5 in the city and 50 in the hotter north where birds, unable to breathe for the heat, fell out of the sky. Sounds like something f4om a Hitchcock thriller.
This heatwave ended with the first fat drops of rain on Friday followed by strong winds, producing flash flooding in outlying areas. Now two days later, the cooler weather requires sweaters and pants instead of t-shirts and shorts. I’m not complaining.