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, you will have noticed that the scorchers are a regular occurrence. 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 Adelaide. It claimed the lives of humans and even zoo animals. The above 40℃ heatwave even scorched the soles of people’s shoes who walked along the pavements.

On the 12th of January 1939, Adelaide 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 Years 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 destroyed20 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 the 3rd and the 17th of March 2008, the state recorded 15 consecutive days over 35°C and 13 days over 37°C. Scientists described it as a ‘one in 3,000 years’ event.

Just a year later in 2009, another extreme heatwave hit Adelaide. 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.

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 degrees 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.

The summer of 2017-18 saw twelve consecutive days above 30 degrees 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℃.

Service Your Air Conditioner

So, what does all this mean? Great question! Well, apart from the obvious climate change conundrum, it means you should service your air con unit if you don’t want to swelter in the heat.

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.


Published: 12 Aug, 2020

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