Archive for the ‘Uniquely Australian’ Category

Sydney weather

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

It’s May in Sydney right now, so not even winter yet, but already we have the heaters going full blast in our apartment. It feels like it’s getting colder each year, but in reality I know that it’s just us getting wussier. To paraphrase the late, great Bill Hicks, I’m turning into a lizard.

Sometimes I give myself a reality check and compare Sydney winter temperatures with UK summer temperatures. There’s not a lot in it. Houses are more geared up for winter in the UK, of course, with thick brick walls, double-glazed windows, roof insulation and central heating. A bit of a contrast to your average wooden Sydney home with a fan heater in the corner of the bedroom.

Random facts about Sydney weather:

  • The sun burns you even in the middle of winter, and even when it’s cloudy. I have the panda-faced photos to prove it. You can actually feel the sun prickling your skin as you start roasting.
  • It sometimes hails – great big bloody marble-sized hailstones – even in the middle of summer.
  • Sydney actually gets more annual rainfall than London (hard to believe, but true).
  • The wettest period tends to be January to July. There’s usually a couple of times a year when it rains for 2 weeks solid, which is pretty miserable. And when it rains, it really rains. Then, suddenly, the rain goes, and you have 3 weeks of lovely sunshine.
  • Most days there’s a breeze – sometimes a gale – that kicks in during mid-afternoon. This is great in the middle of summer; not so nice in winter, or when you’re trying to light the BBQ.
  • Air conditioning certainly makes life more pleasant in the summer months, but it’s not essential (in my opinion). Evaporative (”swamp”) coolers are next-to-useless in the Sydney humidity, especially near the coast where we are.