SA outback swelters

They fried an egg on a shovel, swapped beer for rum, cola and ice, and sweltered in the tin shed that is the William Creek pub, where the air conditioner has met its match..

The hardy souls of South Australia’s Far North battled through the heat again as temperatures soared as high as 49.3C in Moomba, although a cool change – of sorts – is on the way, AdelaideNow reports.

At Oodnadatta, in fact, the mercury is expected to drop to a minimum below 30C for the first time since the morning of New Year’s Eve, while Moomba’s maximum is predicted to drop by 10C to a slightly more comfortable 39C.

Residents of Marree, William Creek and Oodnadatta say they’ve been living in a hot dust bowl, as winds from ex-tropical cyclone Christine lashed the region.

At 11am, Marree Hotel publican Phil Turner was “just finishing off a beer in the bar where it’s 23C”.
He said cold, mid-strength beer had been a top seller, along with Bundaberg Rum and cola … with ice.

Mr Turner even used the cooking heat to try the “fried egg test”.

“We had a fried egg today on the shovel … the local chooks up here are laying hard boiled eggs it’s so hot,” he said.

He recalled a stockman telling him “kangaroos were lying on their backs with their legs in the air and birds were falling out of the sky” when the mercury reached similar heights a few years ago.

A couple of hundred kilometres down the Oodnadatta Track, William Creek Hotel publican Trevor Wright said the scorcher was “like being in a blowtorch”.

“The moment you walk out in the open it hits you and you start profusely sweating and if you stay out there too long, you develop this redness about you,” he said.

“Even in the hotel, with all the air conditioners going, it’s 40C inside.” Mr Wright said water was outselling any other drink.

“We’ve got the heat, the flies, the dust and the discomfort. It’s character building,” he said.

Another example of the just how hot it was were the two exploded Coke cans Sarah Hobbs, of William Creek, found in her friend’s car. “They had exploded everywhere. It is all over the front windscreen, the side windows and even the back seat,” she laughed.

Climatologist Alex Evans said the state today recorded maximum temperatures between 17C and 22C in the south, in contrast to tops in the mid-to-high 40s in the north.

Relief is on the way to the Outback, however, with maximums dipping to the mid-to-high 30s in the north and over the weekend and minimums between 20C and 30C.

Marree and Oodnadatta are looking at tops of 34C, Moomba’s set to reach 39C, while at Leigh Creek, the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast a much cooler 31C.

Much of the state’s southern regions, including Adelaide, can expect temperatures in the low 20s, with showers.