We live near the beach at Coogee, so we are fortunate enough to get a fairly constant sea breeze. But other areas in Western Sydney and in the Western plains were not so lucky. Residents of Richmond on the north-west fringe of Sydney saw the mercury climb to 47 degrees on Saturday, placing the town within less than a degree of the title of global hot spot. Tamworth reached 44C and Moree 46C, while Walgett and Bourke were heading towards a sweltering 47C.
As soon as you leave the eastern seaboard, temperatures soar in summer. And it’s getting worse. My husband travels by train to Lidcombe to go to work, and he feels the difference as he nears the far western suburbs of Sydney.
We were warned that this weekend past was going to break records. I’d joined a long queue in Harvey Norman store on Friday to purchase an electrical fan for our daughter and her two young boys; most of the inexpensive electric fans in the district were already sold out. The woman in front of me in the queue was buying the same fan—along with dozens of other women—for her daughter.
I rang my son in the Lower Hunter Valley on Saturday. He said Paterson, near where he lives, was the fifth hottest place on the globe that day. He and his wife, her mother, and their four children were staying indoors at Vacy with the air-conditioner turned on.
129 bush fires had been raging not far away in the Upper Hunter. Twenty are still uncontained today.
NSW Rural Fire Services (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons expressed relief that no lives had been lost, thanks to the combined effort of firefighters and the community.
“This is as bad as it gets”, he said, “with wind gusts of 90 km an hour fanning the fires, and flames higher than houses striking towns and properties. ”
Out-of-control bushfires have all but decimated the small town of Uarbry in NSW’s central west.
Rare pyrocumulus dry lightning strikes were captured on camera coming from the bush fires.
After a weekend of catastrophic fire conditions that destroyed homes, livestock and agricultural machinery in various parts of the state, assessors today, Monday, have begun investigating the extent of the damage.
Two firefighters were among those to lose properties, while two of their injured colleagues have been hospitalised.
My sister rang from Mullumbimby on the far North Coast of New South Wales. She had turned on the air conditioner for the first time: against her ideological stance, but it was hot and humid. She talked about possibly moving south to (cooler) Tasmania and expressed anger at the Climate Change sceptics in the government and the world.
“It’s not just a question of records being broken here,” she said, “but it’s the overall rise in temperature across the globe that is happening quicker than expected.”
The photos by Nick Moir and Dean Sewell in the Courier Article “Homes and livestock lost as 73 fires continue to burn” say it all: http://www.thecourier.com.au/
On the east coast Fires; on the west coast towards Perth: Floods.
Extreme weather conditions are symptomatic of Climate Change: See the article on this topic in The Conversation.