You wanna buy some heat?

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.


19 responses to “You wanna buy some heat?

  1. When you’re done with it, could you stop sending it in our direction?

    I’m so over it. I am enjoying how it gets cooler here overnight, it never did in Melbourne. There were several families at the park when we got there this morning, bright and early, working off all that toddler energy before it gets too hot to go out.

  2. Feeling much sympathy for you, weather like that is the stuff of my nightmares. I’m insanely grateful that Sydney is so far being spared.

  3. We’re growing cooked tomatoes here in Melbourne. Our watering is now every night and lots of it – we’ve gone from 30-40 litres a night to 60+ and things are still browning off (and the soil is losing moisture despite the watering). Tomorrow I will give in and buy some shadecloth to roof over the front garden in an effort to keep some of the heat off it. We have shaded two out of three garden beds, but the front one I’ve left because we live in a street with “nice” neighbours who care about that stuff.

    Weather disturbingly like yours, but we don’t have air conditioning, just an insulated house with good thermal mass. Which means that the end of next week is a good time to go camping, because a week of 30 degree overnight lows will defeat the thermal mass.

    At least I can wander off down to the coast and camp for the next couple of weeks if I want to, my partner has to stay and work. And water the plants 🙂

  4. Wow. I read your blog pretty much daily and often find things I can relate to but this . . . not so much. There is snow on the ground here and the current temperature is 12 Fahrenheit (-11 Celcius). So, heck yes I’ll buy some heat! What’s the going rate? 🙂

  5. We’ve been sweltering away in the hot box overnight too 😦 Next year definitely getting the biggest refrigerated air conditioning unit that money can buy. Even though I’d like it if they cancelled work cause it’s too hot (well frankly the lack of trains kind of does it by default anyway) I’m pretty glad too go there cause of the air con.

    We’ve gone though about 5 boxes of those little tube iceblocks. Only 3 days to go….

  6. Are there people who get ill or die because of the heat, as they can’t afford air con? Thinking of the people who die each year in Dunedin because of the cold, when they can’t afford heating.

  7. Yes, there are people who die in the heat. Usually elderly people, and sadly, often because they won’t turn their air conditioners on – it costs too much.

    There are no deaths reported so far, this time around.

  8. I can’t even begin to imagine that kind of heat. I got to about 40 in South East Asia and that was horrible. I just slept through the hottest part of the day and did my touristy stuff in the mornings and late afternoon.

  9. I feel for you but I’m sorry, not buying any heat. We don’t have aircon (yet), and Saturday at 42 was just miserable, even in our newly insulated house. The wooden doors were warm to touch, and the tiled bathroom floors were hot to walk on. I’m terrifically grateful that Sydney has been spared the worst of this. You’re very stoic for someone who is new to this extreme heat thing.

  10. It’s dry heat, which is much easier to deal with than humid heat (I think), and air-con makes a big difference. Nevertheless, I ended up sleeping in the lounge last night. Our bedroom is the hottest room in the house (least air-con, most sun). Fortunately our daughters’ rooms are much less exposed.

    I’m stoic in public. You just haven’t heard what I’m saying behind closed doors…

  11. We often got temepratures in the high 30s and early 40s in Spain but that was dry heat which as you say was much easier to deal with.

    Townsville last weekend was late 20s to early 30s but very, very humid and I found that much harder to cope with.

    Now at home – mid 20s yesterday, late teens today – sending cool thoughts your way 🙂

  12. Good grief, that sounds ghastly. I’m afraid Wellington is having something of a cold snap right now, and that was annoying me, but I feel that would be ungrateful now.

  13. What is the prognosis for Australian cities a decade or two from now, when there are even higher temperatures, higher electricity costs, and less water? Should we expect a flood of refugees from the West Island?

  14. It was only 38 today in Canberra. And I went indoor rock-climbing in it, and almost melted.

    I don’t really mind until it’s above 35, but 45 I cannot imagine.

  15. You have my sincere sympathies. We’ve been spared much of this in Sydney – not completely however. Last weekend we had 40 degree+ days also. We holed up at the local swimming pool and shopping centres. Not (yet) having air con, the evenings were hideous; I drapped cold and wet muslin cloths in front of fans to keep my youngest from drowing in her own perspiration. I confess some of my personal heat-management was short-sighted; there’s nothing quite so satisfying as ice cold beer…

  16. Our own room is pretty unbearable – we both gave up in the middle of the night and slept elsewhere last night, himself comfortably on some mattresses, but me less comfortably on a too-short sofa. I’m thinking that some pre-planning might me in order tonight. But it seems that our temperatures are going to be on a very slow downwards fall; by next Friday we will have an overnight low of 19, and a comparatively not-so-hot day of 35.

  17. Today we gave in and bought an air conditioner. A cheap 700W window-mount one but it was enough to get the bedroom down to 30 degrees for much of the 40 degree+ day. Plus we went out and enjoyed the free air-conditioned trains then “enjoyed” why they were free… once again Connex cancelled a heap of services so we waited an hour for a train then gave up and got a taxi to the tram (lugging Phuong’s new computer). Cancellations partly because of the heat (ie, they’ve been skimping on maintenance) and partly work-to-rule because they won’t negotiate with the unions in good faith. It’s amazing the efficiency gains we reap from privatising the railways!

    But it looks as though the heat wave is cooling off with mid-30’s forecast for the next week and wildly optimistic “chance of showers” tonight.

  18. Yes… coolness in sight. My sympathies, moz, for the heat, and Paul, for having to manage tiny children in the heat. And I think I read somewhere, on one of the blogs about the place, perhaps your own, that you and your partner are expecting another baby. My deep sympathy for her.

  19. Yes we are thanks Deborah. Fortunately, the weather in Sydney has moderated. It’s our first year in a new house so we’ve resisited getting airconditioning for the moment, but I suspect when number two arrives it’ll be necessary.

    Moz, you too have my sympathies. We’ve found shopping malls are a reasonable option for the worst of the day but I agree with you both, that it’s the 30+ nights that are the most distressing!