Sydney residents sweltered through the city’s second hottest night on record and its hottest December night in 148 years, with many cooling off at beaches long after dark.
A minimum of 27.1 degrees Celsius (80.8 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded in Australia’s largest city early Wednesday, Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jordan Notara said.
The only hotter overnight minimum temperature recorded in this city of 5 million people was 27.6 degrees Celsius (81.7 degrees Fahrenheit) on Feb. 6, 2011.
The hottest December minimum nighttime temperature on record had been Christmas Day in 1868, when the temperature dipped to 26.3 degrees Celsius (79.3 degrees Fahrenheit).
Records have been kept at Sydney’s Observatory Hill weather station since 1859.
“It was mainly due to the hot day yesterday when we didn’t have the sea breeze cool things down as significantly as it could have,” Notara said of Wednesday’s minimum.
Sydney was forecast to reach 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) during the daytime on Wednesday, after hitting 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday. Sydney’s December average is a maximum of 25.2 degrees Celsius (77.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and a minimum of 17.5 degrees Celsius (63.5 degrees Fahrenheit).
Beaches, rivers and swimming pools have been crowded with people cooling off.
Electricity supplier Endeavour Energy was able to cope with the increased demand from Sydney air conditioners on Tuesday and was prepared for Wednesday’s heat, company spokesman Peter Payne said.
A cool change was forecast late Wednesday afternoon with southerly winds expected to substantially cool the city, Notara said.
Daytime temperatures peaked above 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in the southeast capitals of Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne for the first time since 1965.
Like Sydney, the other three cities were expecting cool changes late Wednesday.