Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Heating up even more

The Harbour Bridge, melting in the sun

'It's only spring' is a saying you hear quite a bit on Australian television where the weather's concerned - usually with regard to unseasonally high temperatures. Last night's forecast used the phrase several times, as today was predicted to be the hottest individual day for over twenty years. It was odd looking at a temperature map on a TV weather report covered with numbers above 40. Living in Scotland, if you get numbers higher than 20 you know you're in for a warm day - but 40? Had they put the map up in Farenheidt by mistake? The predicted temperature in Sydney today was 42C - that's 108F in old money. Hence the phrase '...and it's only spring'.

In truth I don't think it was near that hot - but being used to warm temperatures in the high teens, even warm temperatures in the low 30's are very hot. The wind too, as I said before, plays a part - it's odd to feel a hot wind. Where I'm from, wind is cold, biting, gusty. We have wind-chill, not wind-burn. The idea of wind making the temperature rise is a foreign concept to us Brits. Add that with the humidity, which apparently today was only 10%, and you have the same oven-like conditions mentioned below. Australians are of course familiar with this kind of weather - all the pavements have overhanging frontages from the shops that help shade pedestrians, and of course serve as free advertising boards. You become grateful for these, as just walking in the open sun in 40C weather takes it out of you - you can almost hear yourself dehydrating. In the UK you see people walking about everywhere with bottles of water, clutching them protectively. Over here you see the same, only over here - you really need it...