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Heatwave round 3: climate diary of an Australian heat event

Welcome to my third daily diary of an Australian heatwave event. This heat event is marked by persistent heat from the Pilbara and Central Australia from mid December 2018 that sends out waves of heat to impact the south east population centres of Adelaide in South Australia, Melbourne and inland Victoria, western NSW spreading to include Canberra and Sydney.

Read my diary entries for the Christmas New Year heatwave: Climate Diary of an extreme heatwave across Australia and climate heat impacts, covering Dedcember 22 to January 6.

I followed this up with a second blog article documenting the heat event from January 14 – January 19: Take 2: Climate Diary of an Australian heatwave – January 2019
Heat Health alerts issued for Melbourne and Victoria
Over the weekend of 19-20 January the heat retreated to the Pilbara and Central Australia, but the heat event is far from dissipating. Heat Records continue to be broken.

Why am I documenting this? Because climate change is a primary driver of more extreme heat events. Read the Climate Council 2014 Report on Heatwaves: Hotter Longer, More often.

  • Monday 21 January 2019 – Perth feels the heat, Consecutive day heat records for Birdsville, Camooweal and Cloncurry, heat a killer to wild budgies, Consecutive day record for Newman in the Pilbara region, heat health and bushfire warnings for Victoria, Solar reducing heatwave power peak
  • Tuesday 22 January 2019 – Severe heat to hit Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Thursday a ‘horror day’ for South Australia


Monday 21st January 2019

Extreme heat round 3…

“Now, Western Australia is kicking off a third round. This round looks to be more of a traditional setup. The last 2 have been drawn out, prolonged and relentless. This one looks to be of the traditional variety – starting in the West with Perth hitting 40.4ºc yesterday and 42.1ºc today. This heat should then track East across the remainder of WA tomorrow (Monday), then into SA on Tuesday through to Thursday and across South East AUS from about Wednesday or Thursday into the early weekend. This one is expected to bring more extremely hot temperatures to Inland areas where places like Birdsville, Ballera, North West NSW and Northern SA are expected to see several days once again in the Mid 40’s. This will likely continue to extend Birdsville’s current record streak of 9 consecutive days above 45ºc out to around 15 or 16 days in a row. Oodnadatta is only 1 day off breaking its record for number of 45ºc days in 1 Summer (tied on 13 with last year at the moment) – so thats likely to be broken too.” – Higgins Storm Chasing: Heatwave #3 set to move across AUS this week!

Perth so far has missed most of the heat, but on the weekend of 20th and 21st January got a blast of 40 degree heat. That heat will move east over the coming week to blast the major east coast populations again. But most of the impacts will be felt over a wide area of inland Australia: from Western Australia, the lower Northern Territory, northern South Australia, western Queensland, western New South Wales and northern Victoria.

New consecutive day heat records for Birdsville, Camooweal and Cloncurry

Birdsville…

Even the wild budgies are finding the extreme heat a killer…

Newman in WA’s Pilbara region sets a consecutive day heat record…

Heat Health alerts issued for Melbourne and Victoria…

Heat Health and bush fire warning…
Andrew Crisp, the Victorian state Emergency Commissioner @CommissionerEMV gives an overview of the elevated fire danger and reminds Victorians to stay safe in the heat and around water.

Extreme heat and heat health…

Solar moves and reduces the heatwave power peak…


Tuesday 22nd January 2019

Severe heat to hit Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney…

Adelaide warming up…

Record run of 40C days for Alice Springs…

South Australia extreme heat warning press conference…

“Thursday will be a horror day… with a sustained day of heat” warns South Australia Bureau of Meteorology chief.

Three days of extreme heat is expected across South Australia with high overnight temperatures with the worst expected on Thursday with most of the state in over 40 degree Celsius temperatures. A cool change in the early hours of Friday is expected.

This comes on the back of a heat event last week which saw 69 heat related presentations to SA hospitals, 31 heat related admissions.

John Nairn from the Bureau of Meteorology South Australia said that “Very likely we while be forecasting 45C” on Thursday” with records from Adelaide West terrace in 2009 of 45.7C, and in 1939 of 46.1C. “Those numbers are not far from being reached on Thursday”

We are on track to have the hottest summer on record.

“The south east is an area where the temperature range is not that high, and on the occasions when they experience much higher temperatures, the people down there aren’t nearly acclimatised to those temperatures and also the built environment and the infrastructure that supports them has not been designed around those temperatures. Therefore we can expect they have some additional problems to deal with. That is the reason why unusually high temperatures for our location are challenging.”

“Thursday will be a horror day”

Surfaces can be extremely hot – mind your feet and the paws of pets.