Crikey! Aussie city hits 121 de­grees as South­ern Hemi­sphere roasts

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Doyle Rice

While we’ve been shiv­er­ing up here, folks in the South­ern Hemi­sphere have been bak­ing in all-time record sum­mer­time heat.

Records have been set re­cently in Aus­tralia, Chile and Ar­gentina, spark­ing wildfires and ex­ac­er­bat­ing droughts.

In Aus­tralia, the heat was so in­tense it caused bats to fall from trees and snakes to seek refuge in peo­ple’s toi­lets, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion and the Cap­i­tal Weather Gang.

Over­all, it was the hottest Jan­uary in Aus­tralia ever recorded, the Aus­tralian Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy re­ported. The heat waves there were “un­prece­dented in their scale and du­ra­tion,” the bureau said.

One re­mark­able record was set in Port Au­gusta, Aus­tralia, which soared to 121 de­grees. That’s the hottest tem­per­a­ture ever recorded at a coastal lo­ca­tion in the South­ern Hemi­sphere, ac­cord­ing to Weather Un­der­ground me­te­o­rol­o­gist Bob Hen­son.

Late in the month, folks in Wanaar­ing en­dured Aus­tralia’s all-time hottest night, when the overnight tem­per­a­ture only dropped to 97.9 de­grees.

The mer­ci­less heat has in­ten­sified droughts in sev­eral parts of Aus­tralia, the bureau said.

Across the Pacific, at the far south­ern tip South Amer­ica, the tiny town of Por­venir, Chile, soared to 90.5 de­grees ear­lier this week. This may have been the Earth’s most southerly 90-de­gree tem­per­a­ture on record. “Heat this high on the south­ern tip of South Amer­ica is un­prece­dented,” wrote Guy Wal­ton, an At­lanta me­te­o­rol­o­gist who tracks weather records.

The heat in Chile sparked a num­ber of wildfires. The fires have killed two peo­ple and burned thou­sands of acres, AFP re­ported.

Else­where in South Amer­ica, tem­per­a­tures topped 100 de­grees in Per­ito Morino in Ar­gentina, a record high, the Cap­i­tal Weather Gang said.

And de­spite the re­cent po­lar vor­tex in­va­sion in the U.S., the global tem­per­a­ture in 2018 was the fourth-hottest on record, sci­en­tists said last week.

Over­all, the past five years have been the five warm­est years since records be­gan in the late 1800s, both NOAA and NASA said.

Heat will con­tinue to be the Earth’s ma­jor weather story in the fu­ture, as the globe warms due to hu­man ac­tiv­ity.

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