Asia Minute: Australia Baking Under Record Heat

Feb 9, 2017

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The National Weather Service says a second cold front this week will be moving down the islands. While this time of year often brings rainy and chilly weather to the islands, it’s an entirely different story in Australia—especially this year. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


It’s summer in Australia.  And this year that includes a brutal heatwave through much of the country.

About 500 miles northwest of Sydney, the town of Bourke is forecast to be the hottest place in the country this weekend—reaching 47 degrees Celsius on Sunday—that’s nearly 117 degrees Fahrenheit.

By comparison, Sydney is a relatively cool spot with forecast temperatures of 102 degrees this weekend.  But Sydney may also set a record by the end of the weekend for its hottest three-day period ever recorded.

South Australia is also baking under an unusual concentration of summer heat. Adelaide topped 107 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday.  About 40-thousand customers in the state lost electricity Wednesday—along with the air conditioning that goes with it.

Australia’s been hit with heat waves the last several years including some that have stretched into March.

While that has many asking about the impacts of global warming, heat is a familiar issue in the country.

A study from Macquarie University analyzed records going back 160 years and found that “extreme heat events” have been responsible for more deaths in Australia than floods, cyclones, brushfires and storms combined.