South Australia & Victoria, December 2011

Health - South Australia and Victoria heatwave

Quick Statistics

45 Injured

From Friday 30 December 2011 to 4 January 2012 South Australia and Victoria endured extreme temperatures.

On 1 January 2012 Adelaide recorded its hottest New Year's Day since 1900 with a maximum temperature of 41.6 º C. On 2 January Mount Gambier reached a maximum of 41.7 º C and Renmark hit 42.3 º C. These temperatures prompted a South Australian power company to cut electricity supplies to approximately 3300 properties on the Fleurieu Peninsula on 2 January.

On 2 January Victoria recorded temperatures in the forties, with Melbourne reaching 40 º C and Dartmoor in the south-west recording the state’s maximum of 43 º C. Victoria's ambulance service treated 45 patients for heat-related illnesses, including four cases of children left in cars. A 30 per cent increase in fainting episodes was experienced.

A spokesman for Life Saving Victoria reported 163 rescues occurred during the period 31 December to 2 January.

Approximately 450 people in Melbourne's outer west suburb of Sunbury were without power when a power kiosk failed to cope with the increased demand. A replacement kiosk was installed but caught fire soon after. A spokesman for the power company said an increase in consumption is believed to have caused the original outage.

In some regions on 2 January the temperature reached 40 º C, the wind speed was 50 km per hour and the relative humidity was at 21 per cent; creating extreme fire conditions. The Victorian Country Fire Authority responded to 200 fires throughout the state, including 21 grass fires. The worst fires were in the state's south-west, with the largest blaze in Koroit, which spread over 15 ha and took 15 crews and two aircraft to control.

A total fire ban was issued across most of Victoria and South Australia.

A severe fire warning was given to the central district and Victoria's north-western regions and the Country Fire Service ordered a total fire ban in 13 of the state's 15 districts.


Information Sources

ABC News, ‘More power cuts possible as heatwave continues’, 3 January 2012, website viewed 23 January 2012
ABC PM, ‘Vic fire threat as heatwave continues’, 3 January 2012, website viewed 10 January 2012
Bureau of Meteorology, Daily weather observations, website viewed 1 February 2012
Herald Sun, ‘Sunbury residents suffer power outage as experts tip dry summer’, 3 January 2012, website viewed 23 January 2012
International Business Times, ‘Record heatwave wraps Australia’, 4 January 2012, website viewed 23 January 2012
The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Australia endures record heatwave’, 3 January 2012, website viewed 10 January 2012