I am over it! Stinking hot days, and sultry hot nights. Can’t work in the garden. Can’t sleep well at night.
Summer was supposedly over twelve days ago and all we have had since then is unseasonably hot weather. The maximum temperature at our home on Monday was 37.8C (100F). Today, the temperature is now passed above 30C so it has just surpassed all consecutive days of 30C records dating back 156 years. It is forecast to be a maximum of 37C again today!
Melbourne has only posted eight consecutive days of 30 degrees or more on four occasions – in 1890, 1898, 1951 and 1961 – in records that go back to 1856. Each of the previous stints fell in January or February.
Our last day under 30 degrees C (86F) was on the 3rd March. The average maximum temp for the month has been 32.3C (90.1F) which is +8.3 above the long term average.
In fact, this heat is predicted for another two more days until a cool change passes through (fingers crossed), so all previous records will be broken. Nationally, it was the hottest summer since consistent records began in 1910.
Subsequently, my summer garden tidy up has been delayed, as has my winter planting in the veggie patch. It is simply a case of keeping the garden alive at the moment, and certainly no time to be planting seedlings, unless I want them fried of course.
It is not just the garden that has suffered. People suffer as well. Some of you may know that Kim has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She was diagnosed back in 1999, two months after Ben’s birth, and went technically blind for two weeks, with a full recovery after two months. Difficult times for both of us, but we got through it stronger.
What has that got to do with the heat, I here you ask? Well the vast majority of MS sufferers are dramatically effected by hot temperatures, and they suffer from heavy fatigue, much more than non MS people. As the temperature rises during the day, you can visibly see her draining of energy, whereby I step in quickly and take over whatever task she was attempting to perform.
There are only two ways for her to recover after a ‘meltdown’. Sit in a cool room with an ice pack on her head, which only works sometimes, or go for a swim in our pool. It has been very difficult keeping any room cool, even with air conditioning, so she has been swimming morning and night to prevent any big meltdowns from occurring. She is managing okay at the moment, but if summers continue to become hotter, as they are predicted to become due to climate change, I am not sure what our options are going to be.
We could move house to a cooler climate, but even Tasmania has been affected by the heat, so going further south is not really and option.
Yesterday, we decided to save our pennies and get the house weatherized by professionals. I don’t care how much it will cost, or how much longer I have to push out my retirement, I just want our home to be a comfortable retreat next summer.
Additionally, over the winter, I will be building shade structures for all my raised garden beds, to keep the direct sunlight off the vegetables. This adaptation method should increase yield and productivity. Anything has got to be better than vine fried tomatoes, frazzled peppers, and cooked zucchinis! Cooking is for the kitchen not the veggie patch.
The chooks have lots of shade now that the mulberry tree in Cluckingham Palace has doubled in size in one season, and we are topping up their water twice daily. So they are coping okay. Got to look after the girls, and I am so glad that I build CP a couple of years ago.
Anyway, I found some tips for those in our local area which you can check out in the info-graphic below (click to enlarge).
You know, I really hoped that we – the human race – would have been well on our way towards combating climate change by now, seeing that we have known about it for decades.
Looks like we are well on our way to frying ourselves, if we don’t do something soon.
How are you handling the heat here in Greater Melbourne? Is anyone else suffering from their own bout of extreme weather?