Adelaide: The Heatwave Capital of the Nation

Adelaide: The Heatwave Capital of the Nation

Have you noticed that Adelaide’s heatwaves seem to be getting longer? Well, you’re not alone because a study has revealed that Adelaide has the nation’s worst heatwaves.

If you live in Adelaide, South Australia, you will have noticed that the scorchers are a regular occurrence. Adelaide has been known for its extremely dry conditions, particularly from November to February.

And it turns out that they have been happening for a long time. A long, long time.

The History of Adelaide’s Worst Heatwaves (1897-today)

In 1897, a five-day heatwave struck the city of Adelaide. It claimed the lives of people and even zoo animals. The above 40℃ heatwave even scorched the soles of people’s shoes who walked along the pavements.

On January 12, 1939, the Adelaide plains recorded a maximum temperature of 46.1℃, which remained the city’s highest temperature for 80 years.

It was the peak of a heatwave that had endured since New Year’s Day, with nine days over the old hundred degrees Fahrenheit. During this period, a fire ravaged through the Adelaide Hills causing significant damage to Crafers, Aldgate and the Belair National Park.

The fire destroyed 20 houses along with various animals. This was the state’s first heatwave that caused significant damage.

Between 1973 and 1989 there was only one, a week-long heatwave in January 1982. In recent memory, one of the most severe Adelaide heatwaves came in 2008. Between March 3 and 17, 2008, the state recorded 15 consecutive days over 35°C and 13 days over 37°C. Scientists described it as a “one in 3000 years” event.

Just a year later in 2009, Adelaide experienced another extreme heatwave. It broke numerous records in Adelaide and Melbourne, even forcing games in the Australian open to be cancelled. In the same year, there was an unusually early heatwave during November. Eight consecutive days over 35°C were recorded to set a new record.

This run of heatwaves in South Australia’s state capital outdoes any such records in New South Wales, Queensland or Western Australia.

Getting Hotter

The summer of 2013-14 saw Adelaide’s second hottest heatwave on record. The hottest February day of 44.7°C was recorded. And of course, in the coming years, the records were broken yet again. Autumn 2014 was Adelaide’s warmest on record and in 2015 the city endured their hottest October on record.

December 2015 saw five consecutive days over 35°C and a second heatwave for the summer. Yep, you guessed it, the trends continued …

In March 2016, there was another six-day heatwave and in 2017, Adelaide experienced its hottest Christmas Day since 1941. South Australians sweltered from North Terrace in the city centre to the Adelaide Hills, southern beaches and outer reaches of the northern suburbs.

The summer of 2017-18 saw twelve consecutive days above 30°C and various other heatwaves. Finally, the record for the hottest Adelaide day tumbled on January 24, 2019, with the mercury creeping above the previous mark of 46.1℃ to the new height of 46.6℃.

Rather than watching cricket or any other sporting events at the Adelaide Oval, you’d better off taking a timely dip in the River Torrens.

Service Your Air Conditioner

So, what does all this mean? Great question! Well, apart from the obvious climate change conundrum and the forecast for much more heat, it means you should service your air conditioning unit if you’re living in the heatwave capital.

The last thing you want to happen in a heatwave is for your air conditioner to break down. Regular servicing will prevent build-ups and head off potential problems. There is no need to type “air conditioning Adelaide” in your web browser. We have technicians near you who are ready to tend to your AC needs.

Whether you’re on the Adelaide plains or anywhere else in Australia, if you’re facing a long, hot summer contact the climate control experts at Metropolitan Air Conditioning.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Published: 2020-08-12

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