Australia’s heat wave isn’t slowing down. The Land Down Under broke records late last year with temperatures spiking 11 to 22 degrees Fahrenheit above normal around Christmastime. And 2019 hasn’t offered much relief. Thursday night set a new minimum temperature record of nearly 97 degrees Fahrenheit in New South Wales. This is the highest daily low temperature Australia has ever seen.
And it’s just latest in a string of brutally hot days for the country. Victoria and New South Wales, which sit on Australia’s southeast corner, have seen temperatures soar above 107 degrees Fahrenheit for five days in a row. The capital of Canberra is set to see temperatures reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit four days in a row, which hasn’t happened since 1939 when the country started keeping records.
All this comes at an unfortunate time for the country which is in the midst of a big sporting event. Australia is in the middle of the Australian Open. Tennis players have been feeling the impacts of the extreme heat. Late last year, the tennis tournament’s organizers even created a new “heat stress scale” in preparation for this event. The record-breaking heat around that time might’ve served as inspiration, but who would’ve thought it’d go on this long?
While competitive athletes got it rough, so do regular people who’ve got to keep their air conditioners running and prepare for hefty power bills, as the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Workers aren’t getting it easy, especially those who work outside or in kitchens.
And people aren’t the only ones suffering. Thousands of flying foxes have been falling out of the sky dead from the heat. This happened early last year, too, when a heat wave killed some 23,000 flying foxes in two days, according to research published last week.
Global warming hasn’t been directly linked to this heat wave yet, but more severe heat stress is right in line with what’s expected as global temperatures rise. Time to get ready.