Burn Baby Burn
Living with Heatwaves – Learning from Australia
Roads melt as heatwave escalates across parts of Australia
When the forecast map turns this colour, you know we’re in for some extreme weather. This heatwave is about to get really nasty.
A look into what heatwaves are and why they are nature’s silent killer.
Temperature records have already been broken but the worst of the heatwave sweeping across parts of Australia is yet to come.
The Bureau of Meteorology warned Friday will mark the peak of the week-long heatwave — currently in its fifth day — for some of NSW’s most heavily populated areas. Temperatures in western Sydney are expected to slide well into the 40s, while the CBD is likely to have its fifth consecutive day above 30C for the first time in eight years.
On Thursday, a total of 27 places across NSW and the ACT baked in record maximum temperatures, with one town in the northwest of NSW sweltering in oppressive, all-time high heat for two straight days.
The freakish temperatures have turned forecast maps a worrying black and purple in areas where the mercury is set to spike.
Can You Survive 48 degrees?
Whitecliff, a tiny outback town with a population of just under 150 people, broke its record on Wednesday with a temperature of 48.2C, dropping only marginally on Thursday with a high of 47C just after 3pm. The extreme heatwave emptied the streets, turning it into a scorching ghost town.
Elsewhere in the far northwest, Tibooburra Airport recorded the top temperature in the state on Thursday with 48.2C just before 4.30pm.
Noona recorded 48.1C and Wilcannia Airport and Smithville both reached 47.8C, with Borrona Downs, Bourke, Cobar Airport and Delta all reaching temperatures of at least 47C.
In Sydney’s west, Penrith, Richmond, Campbelltown and Camden all reached 35C by 1pm.
Conditions are so extreme that the bitumen on the Oxley Highway near Wauchope, just west of Port Macquarie, began melting about midday.
Looking ahead, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of more sweltering weather on the way for much of the state.
In a statement, BOM spokeswoman Anita Pyne said the west of NSW would likely see temperatures in the mid to high 40s, including areas around the Ivanhoe and Menindie areas forecast to hit up to 48C. Broken Hill is forecast to reach four consecutive days of more than 45C — an event which has not happened since records began in 1957.
Transport for NSW is warning drivers to allow extra time on the roads as dangerous temperatures often result in more breakdowns as vehicles overheat.
Meanwhile, the NSW Rural Fire Service is battling more than 60 fires across the state, and 13 fire bans are in place across much of central NSW, stretching from the Victorian border up to Queensland.
Authorities are again warning people to take extra care in the heat by staying indoors, keeping hydrated and limiting physical activity.
Paramedics have been called to treat numerous patients for heat-related illnesses, including three children in Sydney’s southwest who were suffering from exhaustion, heatstroke and vomiting. One was taken to Liverpool Hospital in a stable condition.
Sydney train users are being warned there could be delays across the network as temperatures rise.
Temperatures in Sydney’s west are expected to climb as high as 45C on Friday, ahead of a long-awaited cool change on Saturday.
12 ways to beat the heat
Our top tips for surviving a heatwave. See https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/roads-melt-as-heatwave-escalates-across-parts-of-australia/news-story/ea23d38d583ccafa24c6a42b9574b06f
1 Get down low. A s the heat rises, get lower. If you’re in a multi-storey dwelling, head downstairs. If you can’t do that, keep as low as you can. Under a tree, or in a swimming pool.
- Go shopping. A general rule of thumb: The bigger the shopping centre, the more kick-arse its air-conditioning. If you’re on a tight budget, browse. Just be careful about parking fees.
- Spice it up. Opinions are divided on the efficacy of this, but many swear by a hot curry on a stinking day. The theory is that the internal heat makes you sweat, which in turn cools you down. A cool drink helps, too.
- Keep chilled. It’s amazing what a difference a chilled glass of water can do, so keep a jug of H2O in the fridge. Another idea is to fill up a squirting bottle and keep it in the fridge as well, so you can give yourself a cooling mist when needs-be.
- Use air-con. No Daikin hanging off the wall? Don’t panic. Grab a pedestal fan, set up a bowl of ice or wet tea towel in front of it and turn it on. Presto! Air-con.
- Every degree counts. Turn off incandescent lightbulbs (if you still have them) and powerful appliances (except the refrigerator, obviously) which produce ambient heat. And don’t even think of using the oven.
- Pool your resources. Who said wading pools were only for kids? Revisit the summers of your youth by setting one up in the backyard – and give it the full adult twist by having a chilled drink on hand.
- Stay loose. When choosing what to wear, less is not always best. Tight-fitting gym gear may be too uncomfortable. Try looser-fitting garments that allow for maximum air circulation on your skin. And don’t forget a hat.
- Cool in the night. Dreading a long night in the heat? Try chilling your pillowcase in the fridge (in a freezer bag so it stays dry). You also can dampen a T-shirt you sleep in or a washcloth for your forehead before heading to bed.
- Extreme measures. Some parts of our bodies get hotter than others. Running your wrists under cold water can help cool you down. Others swear by going to bed in damp socks. (ew)
- Chill pills. Some medications can exacerbate the discomfort caused by heat – particularly for the elderly.
- Consult your doctor about alternatives.
Tasmania _ Perfect one day, a balmy 20 degrees the next. Is a mini-break really out of the question? (Note: If Tassie’s also stinking hit try Finland.)