UNUSUAL WEATHER AND ASTRONOMICAL PHENOMENON

Officially, Australia’s winter is from June to August and these months in the south of the continent, are the wettest and coldest times of year.

Today is the 6th of June, and whilst only a few days into winter we see freakish wet and wild weather hit the city and on top of that we will witness the occurrence of a transit of Venus which happens when Venus is observed to move across the face of the Sun.

This transit is a rare and historically important astronomical event which won’t occur again until 2117 so I’m up early to see the astronomical phenomenon, get among the unusual weather and somehow combine all that with a cup of coffee.

I’m sure humans evolved in tropical climates and only came across cold weather by mistake as they travelled the Silk Road or on some other trade journey. So when winter with its cold, windy, and bleak weather comes along we all start to complain.

I’m one of those humans sensitive to cold and do my fair share of complaining.The trees die a little, the grass dies a lot and early in the morning when I’m wrapped up in the silence and darkness, I don’t want to get out of bed, I just want to hibernate.

In the interest of science and knowledge I forced myself out into the cold.

Today in Sydney the weather was described by the Fairfax Media as follows:

A SEVERE storm sweeping up the coast collided with the year’s highest tide and evening peak hour yesterday, causing traffic delays, power outages and damage to homes across Sydney.

Winds as high as 128 km/h battered the coast and some inland areas and the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for the Hunter, metropolitan, south coast, Illawarra, northern rivers, Snowy Mountains, mid-north coast and central tablelands districts.

”I can tell you on the coast it’s blowing a gale,” the bureau’s severe weather meteorologist, Andrew Haigh, said.

The average wave height in Sydney was about 1.5 to two metres before the weather closed in yesterday afternoon, with swells expected to reach up to eight metres.

The highest tide of 2.2m approached the 2.4-metre record set in 1974. ”We’ve got the severe weather and winds coinciding with close to the highest tide of the year, so that is very unusual,” Mr Haigh said.

I sit at the café enjoying a warm coffee with toast and jam and past the time observing the transit of Venus against the backdrop of an eight metre ocean swell.

The days are short and the sun is a small spark in the sky. It sheds intermittent warmth amidst the chilly weather. The clouds discharge their storm water and the smell of smoke from chimneys is a welcome sign that human warmth still exists.

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