Little Bits of History

Hot, Hot, Hot

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 31, 2011

Marble Bar, Australia

October 31, 1923: The first of 160 consecutive days of temperatures over 100º F occurs at Marble Bar, Australia. The small town was gazetted in 1893 after gold was discovered in the area in 1890. It lies in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is known for its hot weather and may be the hottest place on earth. Ironically, there is a nearby area with specific rock formations that is known as North Pole.

These 160 days of over 100º F heat are a world record. Finally, on April 8, 1924 the high temperature dipped into the two-digit range. High temperatures are common during the Marble Bar summers as they are for most of northwestern Australia. Average temperatures for Marble Bar exceed 100º F for 154 days of the year. The only way for the inland town to get a relief breeze that lowers the temperature is for a monsoon trough to descend far enough to affect the weather. This did not happen during the entire 1923-1924 summer.

The rainfall during the 160 day heat wave was 3.1 inches and most of that fell in two short rain storms. Less than one-half inch of rain fell during the rest of 1924. The ensuing drought was devastating to the area. The highest temperatures in Marble Bar usually fall in January and February. On January 1, 1924 the temperature hit 117.5º F and it was higher still in January 11, 1905 and January 2, 1922 when it hit 120.5º F. The highest temperature occurred when 123º F was reached on February 19, 1998.

A heat wave is defined by the World Meteorological Organization as five consecutive days with maximum temperatures exceeding normal temperatures by 9º F (5º C) with normal temperatures being assigned from averages of temperatures between the years 1961 and 1990. In some European countries, a heat wave is defined as five days with temperatures greater than 77º F (25º C) as long as three of those days reached 86º F (30º C). The odd numbers are explained by the temperature in Celsius. In the US, heat wave temperatures are defined by region with 90º F being labeled as such. Heat advisories are issued at 105º F and excessive heat warnings are issued at 115º F.

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?” – Stephen Wright

“I was a researcher on Friday and Saturday nights, … but I spent a lot more time there. We were having a heat wave and the office was air-conditioned. They mistook me for a hard worker.” – Michael Hastings

“This is a ridiculous heat wave we’re in right now, and to contribute, Newt Gingrich said that for the entire month of June, he will stop blowing hot air.” – Bill Maher

“August is one of our hottest months. This is not really a heat wave. It’s just typical for summer.” – Philip Gonsalves

Also on this day:
“I’m just a patsy” – In 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald in Moscow, vows to never return to the US.
Shooting Shooters – In 1912, the first gangster film was released by DW Griffith.

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