1-Day Heatwave

It was a very strange day. I feel like I have been on a long journey, but made it back home safely. I got up early, knowing that the temperature forecast was 43 degrees celsius  which equates to about 110F. I wanted to finish my award acceptance post and sent out the notification emails before it became too hot to have the computer on.

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My focus for the day was dealing with the heat, and anything else that might come up as a result. I took an early morning photo; thinking there was a strong possibility that I would be taking pictures of bushfire smoke by the end of the day. The sky looked deceptively innocent, and I felt a sense of distrust at its naive promise of a lovely day.

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Before starting on my post, I went out to water the plants on the balcony. The garden sculpture community seemed to share my sense of foreboding. I don’t like extreme weather conditions. They make me nervous. Although my situation was very safe, there was a fire warning of “catastrophic” in place.

Early in the morning a few greyish clouds came across the sky and there was a coolish breeze. The temperature was about 27.5C (81.5F) which for the sake of this discussion we will call “pleasant”. I managed to get some useful things done in the morning – finishing the blog post, photographing some postcards and other computer work. I knew that I would not be able to use the computer once the heat started to build.

During the morning the temperature started to rise until midday when it was much hotter outside than inside. At midday I decided it was time to implement my heat management strategy . I put off the computer and closed the doors, windows and blinds. I put on the fan and retreated to the lounge. By 1pm it was 39C (102.2F) outside, but still only 28C (82.4F) inside.

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During the afternoon I stayed as quiet and inactive as possible. I did lot of reading on the iPad, had a sleep, and watched some TV. Throughout the afternoon and the evening the outside temperature rose gradually to a maximum of about 41C (105.8) while the inside rose gradually to almost 30C (86F). The significant difference between the inside and outside created a sense of being trapped by the heat. Although in reality the inside temperature had not risen a great deal, it was still quite warm and stuffy. But is was the threat of the outside heat that you could feel when walking past the window and glass doors that made it unpleasant. It was a choice of hot or hotter.

I made good use of the afternoon by sorting out out all the blogs saved as favourites before I worked out how to use readers. I put the TV news on for a while, and there were 130 fires burning, many out of control, although none any where near me. I didn’t watch for too long because I wanted to concentrate on managing my own situation.After dinner I decided to brave a trip to the letterbox. It was still unnervingly hot outside – about 37C (98.6F) but the burning sun had let up.  Had I not gone out, I wouldn’t have seen that there was a beautiful sunset.

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Normally on a hot day you can open the doors in the early evening, but I waited until 10pm because it was still so much hotter outside than inside. I knew a cool change was expected after midnight. These southerlies are the saving grace of the south east coast of Australia, bringing cold breezes from the colder southern regions. The sweep in with great force and drop the temperature drastically within about 10 minutes.

I fell asleep in the blanketing heat and woke at 2.30 am to a cool breeze coming in my window. In fact it was cold and amazingly I had to put the corner of a blanket over me.

As was expected, this morning it was about 27.5C (81.5F) inside, although its 20C (60F) outside. The situation has flipped and now the building is holding yesterdays heat, and the cool breeze is struggling to touch it.

On the TV weather they said the reason for the heat was that the tropical monsoon is late arriving in the north. As a consequence there is very little cloud cover over Australia, and the full force of the sun is heating the north and the desert areas. The temperatures inland are very high, persistent and unmitigated by the sea breezes we get in Sydney. The desert winds have moved south and east and caused prolonged heatwaves in the southern states, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, where there have been extensive bushfires.

We have been very lucky in Sydney to only have a 1-Day Heatwave and the promise of quick relief. I coped well, and didn’t really suffer from the heat because I was very careful. The biggest issue was boredom and isolation. Its as if your whole life is on hold while you deal with this natural phenomena.

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