Australia bakes in record early summer heat

Adelaide sets December record of over 40C for days in a row, while other southern cities also bask in high temperatures.

Into the water at Glenelg beach, Adelaide, Australia
South Australians are basking in record-breaking temperatures [Getty Images]

Summer so far in Australia has been a series of heatwaves, most noticed in the cities of the south. The latest to break records is Adelaide, capital of the state of South Australia.

Adelaide matched its December 2007 record, of three consecutive days above 40C, on Friday. As of Saturday, the record is now four days.

Port Augusta, a little north of Adelaide and at the point of the Spencer Gulf, reached a top temperature of 47.1C. The proximity of water clearly made no difference to the fierce heat brought from the Australian interior.

This sort of heat brings the obvious risk of heatstroke. One person has been discharged from the Royal Adelaide Hospital after suffering a suspected heatstroke while another is still receiving treatment for the same condition.


The ever-present danger of bushfires increases too. Lightning is a common cause of these fires, but sometimes it is human activity. An extreme fire danger rating has been declared in this part of South Australia.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said Adelaide’s record-breaking December heatwave would finally come to an end on Sunday. A band of thundery showers, crossing on Saturday night, should leave a more reasonable 26C, as a maximum, on Sunday.

Across the border in Victoria, Melbourne has also been blasted by the heat.

Saturday was the second day this month above 40C in the state capital, but no records will be broken. After a hot Sunday morning, the wind will swing around to a much cooler southwesterly for the afternoon. Monday’s forecast is a dull and damp 21C.

Canberra, the country’s capital, is also in line for a heatwave, but to a lesser extent. This weekend is seeing temperatures in the middle 30s Celsius for only the second time this month.

Interestingly, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney have all been hotter so far than they were in December 2014.

Both the highest temperature and the monthly mean maximum have exceeded last December’s. In fact Adelaide looks like beating a 60-year record of average monthly day maximum by a considerable margin.

Tasmania, though surrounded by cold water, is also benefitting from this summer’s warmth.

All but six days so far this year in Hobart, the capital, have been above 20C. The shock is due for Sunday, a record-breaking 35C is forecast. Luckily, it will be a heatwave of only one day.

A resident gives a drink to a wild heat-stressed koala in her backyard in Adelaide on Saturday [Getty Images]
A resident gives a drink to a wild heat-stressed koala in her backyard in Adelaide on Saturday [Getty Images]
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies