Severe heatwave in Australia

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  • A sunset picture. Photo: PA Wire

    A sun picture. Photo: PA Wire

  • Severe heatwave in Australia
    12.02.2017 18:58

     

    A severe heatwave has been causing days of bushfires over many eastern areas of Australia. The hot weather is likely to return for a time this week, according to MeteoGroup, pushing the temperatures beyond 40C.  Only on Monday the temperatures are expected to drop a bit, at least in the southernmost areas, with the heatwave temporarily moving northwards.

    Since last January extreme temperatures have been recorded in south-eastern and eastern regions of Australia, such as Victoria (VIC), New South Wales (NSW),  Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Queensland (QLD). Last Sunday, many cities experienced temperatures beyond 40C, with 42.7C at Sydney Olympic Park for instance, or 45.5C at Wilcannia Airportin the NSW west and 48.2C in Tarcoola last Thursday, in South Australia. But in regions like Queensland, these temperatures are expected to be reached again early in the incoming week, perhaps reaching  45-48C.

    This severe hot weather has been particularly lengthy and oppressive, with last January defined as the hottest January on record for Sydney and very short cooling breaks since then. The demand of energy has been constantly high to keep the air conditioners on and fight the extreme high temperatures. Recently, this brought a vast blackout in Sydney, which left 11,000 buildings without electricity  To prevent other serious blackouts, the population have been warned about possible load sheddings, especially across NSW. This load shedding consists of deliberate power cuts for a short period in different areas, allowing the systems to not overheat. Almost 90,000 South Australian have already experienced this kind of procedure just in the past week.

    The energy supply is just one of the problems that prolonged high temperatures are causing. Fires are highly feared, and a state-wide fire band has been issued for this weekend in several states, with currently almost 50 fires burning just across NSW. These very high temperatures are a threat to human life too, and people have been warned to adapt their routine in order to prevent illness or respiratory problems.

    Looking at the forecast for the next few days, light southerly winds already allowed the far south to cool down on Sunday, pushing the heatwave towards north. NSW, Queensland and Victoria experienced very hot condition during the weekend with temperatures above 40C in many cities. Unfortunately, heat wave conditions look like returning to much of the eastern half of Australia this week, perhaps with temperature climbing more than 10C above the seasonal normal by Friday.

    By: Alessio Martini