It's hot in the city — damned hot
The Age / Andra Jackson
January 30, 2009
THERE was an eerie feeling on Melbourne's streets yesterday. They were largely deserted, as people took refuge indoors to beat the searing heat.
The city's temperature reached 40 degrees by 11.40am. The mercury continued to climb throughout the afternoon, notching 44.3 degrees at 4.40pm.
It was the city's third-hottest day on record (the hottest was Black Friday — January 13, 1939 — with 45.6).
The heat followed a sticky night, with the temperature falling to 28.7 degrees at 3.13am. There have only been two nights hotter, the hottest of them on February 1, 1902, when the low point was 30.5 degrees.
Lifesaving Victoria's Guy Britt said people had been shunning beaches during the day because it was too hot. Instead, they descended from 6pm until late into the night.
More than 70,000 people flocked to the state's beaches on Wednesday night, prompting a call to lifesaving volunteers to patrol beaches and put up flags on the heatwave nights. More than 30 clubs responded.
In the city's meltdown yesterday, the air-conditioning at the DFO outlet in Spencer Street failed, forcing many shops to shut and send staff home.
Ambulance Victoria was flat out, with 75 heat-related calls between 9am and 5pm.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade was also under siege. Emergency calls jumped dramatically in the 24 hours to midnight on Wednesday, with 266 calls on the first day of the heatwave.
MFB and Country Fire Authority firefighters received a total of 986 calls, including multiple power pole and transformer fires as a result of the heat.
Across the border, Adelaide sweated through its hottest night on record on Wednesday, with the temperature dropping only to 33.9 degrees.
Adelaide hit 40 degrees-plus yesterday for the third day in a row. It is forecast to remain in the 40s and 30s into next week.
The extreme heat also spread to Tasmania. A high of 41.5 degrees was recorded on Flinders Island — the state's highest temperature since 1976.
On day two of Victoria's heatwave, the top temperatures were 45.8 at Avalon airport, 45.3 at Geelong airport, 44.8 at Mount Gellibrand, 43.6 at Bangalore, 43.9 at Bairnsdale and 43.3 in the Latrobe Valley.
Mildura and Albury, normally the state's hot spots, reached 42.8 and 41.5 degrees respectively.
Another blistering hot 43 degrees is predicted for today.
Melbourne last suffered through a severe heatwave in 1959, with three consecutive days of temperatures in the 40s.
This month is also set to be our second-driest January in 159 years of records. There has been only 0.8 millimetres of rain.
With PETER KER