Australian Heat Wave
Many of us here in the US don’t follow the weather overseas. Australia is going through one of its worst droughts on record at the same time as a record-setting heat wave.
And they’ve caught fire.
The fires began on the hottest day ever recorded in Melbourne and were fanned by gale-force winds. Many of the dead were said to have waited too long in their homes before fleeing and were burnt alive in their cars as multiple fires tore through the countryside of Victoria state. Some of the blazes were set by arsonists.
Witnesses said the sky had turned to ash, began to rain embers and the fires which obliterated entire houses in seconds had turned parts of the picturesque Victorian countryside into something resembling a nuclear holocaust.
Cars became tombs as people tragically tried to out-run the flames. Others made lucky escapes by diving into dams and local reservoirs. One group broke into a local pub to seek refuge in the cool room until the blaze had passed.
Described as “hell on earth”, the bushfires began on Saturday amid record-breaking temperatures as the mercury hit 46.4C, Melbourne’s hottest day on record. The fires left a trail of death and destruction across the state, burning through 350,000 hectares (1,350 square miles). Fifty fires also began burning across the border in New South Wales, where temperatures reached 46C on Sunday.
The Australian Army was called in to assist the thousands of weary firefighters who battled the blazes over the weekend, and the government announced a $10 million (£4.5 million) emergency relief fund as well as immediate $1,000 cash grants to help the thousands of Victorians now left homeless. The fires are now officially the worst in Australia’s history, surpassing the death toll of the Ash Wednesday fires which claimed 76 lives when they tore through Victoria and South Australia in February, 1983.
For those of us who are Celsius-challenged, 46C is about 115F.
I am Jon, always looking forward to something.
Thanks to TreeHugger