We got plenty, going cheap!
Adelaide hit 45.7 degrees (Celcius) today. That’s about 114 Fahrenheit for people who still use the old money.
The temperature will plummet overnight to a tropical low of about 32 degrees, before we head into another 44 degree day tomorrow, followed by 41, 40, 40, 39, 38 and 38 through to next Wednesday. This heat wave started on Monday 26 January, Australia Day, and looks like it will last for about 10 or maybe 11 days. Not as long as last year’s 15 day record breaker, but hotter. Last year’s fortnight of days that were 35 degrees or more fell in March, but this time round, it’s happening in January. The days are longer in January, giving the sun more time to heat the already hot air. When you step outside, it’s like facing into a warm oven, being enveloped with heat. When I do go outside, I walk in very slow and stately fashion, which I find quite trying. I am not given to living at a slow pace. The sun makes my skin feel as though it’s pinking up straight away, even though I spend as little time outside as possible. The hot air is heating up the water in the pipes, so that our “cold” water is almost warm enough to shower in. Some of the plants in the garden have gone crispy, although my roses are surviving, so far. They are incredibly hardy.
So how do we cope? Mostly by drinking lots of chilled water, and staying inside, with air-conditioning. We are eating lots of salad, and keeping cooking to a minimum – there’s no sense in adding extra heat to the house.
I fill the strangelings’ water bottles about two-thirds full and freeze them overnight, topping them up with water in the morning, so they have chilled water at school. And I drive them to and from school; I don’t want them walking home in 45 degrees. Or even 38 for that matter. The school is air-conditioned, so it’s just a matter of getting them from one cool building to another. But that can still take 15 or 20 minutes at the end of the school day, so they have iceblocks as soon as we get home.
We keep the house shut up, keeping the cool air in, and the hot air out. We are running two sets of air conditioners, and sometimes three. Our reverse-cycle appliances are working well, but the evaporative air-conditioner works by cooling the air with water, to about 12 degrees less than the outside temperature. That’s fine when it’s say, 35 degrees outside, but when it’s 45? Pumping still-hot air into your house just doesn’t work. So the evaporative air-conditioner goes on for a while in the morning, but that’s it. We are working hard on keeping the house cool. If it heats up, we have no way of getting it cool again, because the overnight lows just aren’t low enough to cool anything.
This is weather to be endured, very much like the endless gales in Wellington’s winter. There will be a few days respite after this heat wave, but then we will be into our next spell of living indoors, keeping the house shut up, and spending the least time possible outside. I’m worried about February, and hoping that we will get some cooler days, and hopefully cooler nights as well.
I recommend the Bureau of Meteorology site for anyone who wants to follow our daily torment. Click through the link under “Latest Weather” to see the highest and lowest temperatures in each 24 hour period (midnight to midnight, I think – it’s hard to tell
9am to 9am) and the link under “Forecast” to see what is in store for us.