Australia heat wave

This item appears on page 19 of the March 2019 issue.

Australia experienced its hottest December on record in 2018, with temperatures reaching more than 120ºF (49°C) in some areas. Temperatures in the capital, Canberra, rose to a record-breaking 102ºF (39°C), while Sydney experienced highs of around 104º. Authorities recommended that people remain inside during the hottest period of the day and drink plenty of water.

The heat wave continued into January, when five of the 10 hottest days ever on record in Australia occurred, with temperatures again reaching over 120ºF in some locations. The heat wave caused a number of waterholes in the central part of the country to dry up, resulting in the mass deaths of wild animals. A large number of bushfires also were reported.

Summer begins on Dec. 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. In Australia, January and February are typically the hottest months of the season.