This week-end is regarded as likely to bring much more extreme temperatures and fire danger to many parts of southern Australia even though in North Queensland this week a cyclone and a very deep low arrived in one town bringing record floods - twice! We have a BIG country.
For the coming two days I've heard forecasts of up to 47C or 116.6F in the south. And yet some still deny the existence of global warming!
Record temperatures are being set and massive intense bushfires are raging through the countryside, wiping out homes and infrastructure.
News bulletins are advising that we look after our elderly and sick, protecting them against the heat.
Thousands of heroic fire fighters are attempting to hold back the flames that cover hundreds of kilometres. I heard a radio warning to residents that they could not absolutely expect to see a big red truck drive up to help them save their place because there weren't enough of them.
Wildlife is always at risk in these situations and many of our native animals die in fire.
This morning I received these pictures via email and I don't know who the photographer was - except that she was a woman in Maude on the Murrumbidgee River in Victoria.
To the family's great astonishment this little guy turned up in their garage, seeking relief from the violent sun.
Now, koalas are a wild animal. They look cute and cuddly but they don't take kindly to people and are known to scratch and spit and roar if approached in a way they don't appreciate.
The woman filled up a bucket of water and the following pix show us what happened.
The little guy first tested the water with his paw and then took a lick and then a drink.
By this the kids had come running to see the fun.
And then, ignoring the onlookers, the koala took a dip in the bucket, obviously enjoying the coolness.
As I understand it, Koalas don't really seek out water, generally relying on the moisture in the leaves they eat. These fellas live in the famous Australian eucalypt or gum tree, and the leaves are their main nourishment, even though they are filled with powerful eucalyptus oil.
I reckon this visit is one out of the box.
Or, as we could also say, one for the bucket!
Bushfire is not only a threat to those in the bush. If people live in an urban fringe or semi-rural area when the heat hits, their lives could be at risk.
The Country Fire Authority in Victoria is presently advising:
'If you own a holiday house, caravan or shack in a bushfire risk area, you need to be prepared there as well.
'On a day of high bushfire risk you need to have a clear bushfire plan.
'If your decision is to stay and actively defend your property, then you need to put your bushfire plan into action. If you have decided to leave the area, then leave before a fire threatens and road travel becomes hazardous.
Find out more about how to prepare for a bushfire.'
The authority asks everyone to consider:
- Leave or stay? It's your decision
- How to protect your property
- How to protect yourself
- Making a bushfire plan
- Obtaining further information during fires - radio?
- Is other essential equipment to hand?
The heat had already hit Sydney yesterday and my elderly uncle and aunt - both in their nineties - live in a suburb where 40C plus was threatening. I rang to check them out to find that my dear brother was already there watching out for them and getting in the groceries. He'd persuaded them to put in air conditioning in one room a couple of years ago thank goodness. They'd resisted it for years. Anyway, they were safe yesterday, sitting close to the one source of coolness in their little home.
Update on the Victorian fires and the Queensland floods
7am Sunday AEDT It seems that a huge section of the Victorian countryside in southern Australia has been absolutely burned out.
Overnight the Premier announced that 14 people had died there because of yesterday's bushfires, with it possible that numbers could raise threefold.
Temperatures had reached an all time record of 48C or 118.4F.
In Ingham in Far North Queensland residents are bracing themselves for the seventh day of severe and record flooding.
There is no question in my mind that these extremes are the results of global warming. All of those scientists must be right.
At the moment we are so lucky here where I am. We are not affected by any of this on the Northern Rivers of NSW. Although my brother lives near a bushfire that got out of control last night near Sydney. He's okay.
Those poor people at each end of Australia.
Another Update on the Fires
8am Sunday AEDT It has just been announced that the death toll is officially 25 with many more to come. The figure of 40 deaths has already been mentioned. There have been many people severely burned. More than 100 (update 9am 400) homes are known to have been destroyed. The fires continue in Victoria.
They are destroying farms near where my son-in-law grew up as a child, and many of his friends would be affected. His parents sold their property not long ago. In this area the fire front is 20km long, and there is no sign of substantial rain.
9am ADST Sunday: I have just seen TV pictures of towns 'blowtorched' with almost every house flattened by fire storms. They say 400 homes have been destroyed to date.
There have been 100 homes destroyed in the major city of Bendigo.
It is the worst bushfire disaster in Victorian history.
Conditions have eased a little and investigators are finding more dead - often in burned out cars. One car contained six bodies.
There are 40 bushfires burning in southern New South Wales and 350 in Victoria. The Victorian fire chief has warned that it is far from over yet with many huge fires still burning. He forecast at least another two days of severe danger.
Can you tell us all in a comment how the weather near you is being apparently affected by global warming?