I have to say, I’m not a native Australian but I am guilty of talking about the weather quite a lot since I’ve lived here. Just recently, I’ve talked about Wild Weather Around Australia, Sydney’s Severe Weather and Preparing for Summer Part Two: Severe Weather.
And that’s exactly what I was talking about in one of my recent articles for Australia and New Zealand magazine which appeared in their August edition. Yes, Australians do talk about the weather a lot and so do I. The magazine called the article…
The weather is actually an even bigger topic here than it ever was in the UK. We tend to have this notion that us Brits are always talking about the weather, well, wait until you get to mince clogs with the Aussies.
In fairness, Australians probably have more to talk about on the weather front what with cyclones, floods, droughts, bushfires and heatwaves to contend with. That kind of covers the whole spectrum really, from very hot and dry through to very wet and windy.
We’ve not lived here that long, but we’ve already been through the weather cycle a couple of times or more. When we arrived, late 2007, Brisbane and all of Queensland were in a severe drought. A few weeks after we arrived, it rained and rained and rained.
After a period of ‘normal’ weather (hot, dry and sunny), 2010 seemed to offer nothing but rain and by January 2011 we had floods that covered huge areas of Queensland before spreading down to New South Wales. I think the whole world was aware of the inland tsunami that was surely the darkest moment of the flooding. Three-quarters of Queensland was declared a disaster zone.
Then back to normal weather, which was nice, but only until Tropical Cyclone Oswald brought more flooding in January 2013. Yet by early 2014 we were back into drought again with 38 out of the (I think) 74 Local Government Areas of Queensland drought declared.
Sometimes though, too dry meets too wet all of a sudden. For example, during this most recent drought, Brisbane went about four months without rain during the summer, so we just had hot and sunny with clear blue skies days every day.
But everything starts to turn a little bit brown and crispy in the garden. Things begin to look quite botanically bleak. Then, as happened sometime in April as a backlash to Tropical Cyclone Ita this year, we had a very wet weather front come through that bashed us about a bit.
As the downpour entered its second day and the deluge continued, we were all still smiling. Almost before our very eyes, brown grass began turning green, flowers choked back into life and green tree frogs would start singing again.
Yes, everybody would be smiling at the rain, loving the rain, and in some parts of the Outback, dancing in the rain. That never happens in England, well, Gene Kelly excepted. Except, of course, he was in the USA.
You may think all these weather extremes sounds rather scary, but really, it’s not that bad. Australia is a very big place and if you pick your spot wisely, you can live somewhere that is highly unlikely to ever suffer from cyclones, floods, droughts or bushfires. Heatwaves, on the other hand, are a little harder to escape from but perhaps easier to defend against.
Australians are used to the wild weather; it’s part and parcel of living here. We all enjoy the fantastic weather that we ‘normally’ get, but we know the price we pay is the occasional natural disaster.
Australia and Australians cope with it admirably and the weather certainly gives us something to talk about.