Heatwave conditions where I live
Hi everyone - I just thought I'd share with you all, my experiences of our two abnormally hot days during the past two weeks .
Two weeks ago (Thur 10th) we experienced the hottest day ever recorded in the area where I live. It was 47 degrees C (116.6 degrees F) in the back yard under shade cloth at the hottest time of the day which was 1.00 pm D.S.T. (Daylight Saving Time) so it was really only 12.00 noon Eastern Standard Time. The hot weather had been forecast but the forecast top temp. was 39 degrees C, much less than we experienced.
Fortunately I had sufficient warning to prepare and I gave everything a good deep watering in the early morning. I damped down the floors of the shade house and under the benches in preparation for what was to come. I had extra pieces of shade cloth strung up all around the place to add protection to plants that were in the garden and was satisfied I had done all I could to combat the heat.
For the past six months I had also begun a programme of spraying everything with Seasol every two weeks as this was also supposed to help with heat stress and help plants withstand an extra 4 degrees of heat. (I had used this previously with good results in 2006 following a 45 degree C heatwave one New Years Day)
Anyway, the temperature gradually rose but wasn't too bad as there was still a slight north east breeze blowing off the sea two streets away, but then the breeze swung around to the west and became a hot westerly which quickly elevated the temperature. It was so hot it stung the corners of my eyes and nostrils if I ventured out in the yard to check how things were going. The temperature did come down a bit as the hot wind dropped but it wasn't until later in the night that a cool southerly wind came through and cooled everything down.
Two weeks after it had past, the only apparent damage was a couple of plants that I couldn't provide adequate protection for so I considered myself very lucky and was happy with the results of the precautions I had taken. Someone said it had been "The Hundred Year Heatwave" and my answer was, "at least I won't be around for the next one"! How wrong I was.
Three days ago (Fri 18th) the forecast was again for a hotter than normal day and I repeated all of the protective preparations once again but this time it was much hotter than anyone was expecting with about one hour of unbearable hot west wind in the middle of the day. As before and at the same time and location, I again checked the temperature and this time it was right to the top of the thermometer and off the scale at at 50+ degrees C (121+ degrees F). When it eventually did cool down later in the afternoon, some of the liquid in the thermometer stayed right at the top while only some moved back lower down the tube giving the appearance of a "dotted red line" in the thermometer. I've tried shaking the fluid back down but to no avail so the thermometer is "stuffed" and I'll just keep it as a reminder of what Mother Nature can do.
Suffice to say that all of the plants in the front garden were "cooked" as they had no protection as they were only seedling "culls" anyway and I hadn't worried about them as I was too busy protecting my better plants in the back yard.
It seems the "Hundred Year Heatwave" just couldn't wait for another hundred years to visit us and has now created a new record for our area as the hottest day ever since records were first kept. The official temperature recorded at the weather station was 45.8 degrees C albeit not as hot as it was under my shade cloth.
At this stage there is not a lot of visible damage to the brom's, but given that the plants would have already been under stress from the previous hot day I imagine a lot of damage will become apparent during the next couple of weeks and I'm just dreading what I'll be confronted with.
I'll just finish with a few pic's to show the damage so far.
Not quite enough protection for this Vr Phillipo-cobergii
Some Neo. seedling culls in the front garden
My "stuffed" thermometer.
All the best, Nev.