I freely admit that in the past few years I’ve remained unable to acclimatise properly to this beautiful country’s extremes, occasionally moaning either about the heat or the cold—when back home I’d break out the deckchair and whack a hanky on my head the minute the clouds broke.

A bit of wind warning would be nice.

At present we’re at the start of an Australian winter. For me, that should rightly be like an English summer. And while there are some truly gorgeous days cropping up now and then, you just can’t tell how it’s going to pan out.

My main beef is with the wind chill factor. Or lack of it. That’s right, people who report the weather, I said wind. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s out there, even now, blowing shit around.

You can cry ‘science!’ as much as you want. It doesn’t change the fact that you told me it was a sunny 23 degrees, when in reality the howling Antarctic gale has dropped that considerably and now I’m cutting the commuters on the packed train to shreds with my knife-like nipples because I dared put on a t-shirt.

Only a meteorologist would give a damn what the ‘actual’ temperature is. The rest of humanity just wants to know whether or not they need to bring a coat.

Look, I can get on board, if there is some great Australian conspiracy against wind that hasn’t yet been explained to me. I can adapt, reluctantly, if need be. I’ve already become used to the fact that despite being a country of such extremes, there are no standards for housing to come with air conditioning or central heating.

You’re tough. Much tougher than me. I’ve learned to accept that. But at the very least can you spice up the weather map symbols a bit? Sun and clouds don’t cover it. Maybe back in the UK, where it’s either raining or not. But Australian weather is far too clever.

So, to the Grant Denyers and Steve Jacobses of the world, if you won’t bow to the wind chill factor, at least consider these new categories to prepare us properly for what awaits:

1. White Sun—“Looks nice out there, doesn’t it?  It’s not. Wear a balaclava.”
2. Crying Sun—“Blue sky and raining. You figure it out, we can’t.”
3. Pink Cloud—“It’s dark, but you will burn. Take sunscreen.”
4. Red Cloud—“Sydney, meet Uluru. Try not to breathe.”
5. A Microphone—“Impending disaster. You are about to be inundated with reporters.”

And if all else fails, a big splat with a question mark will do: “We don’t know enough to even try and bullshit you today. Wear a coat over your boardies. Bring a sled.”

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Mathias says:

      12:55pm | 09/06/11

      Hey Dan, you kinda look like Ray Ramano.

    • DH says:

      01:31pm | 09/06/11

      I’ve been called far worse. I’ll take that as a compliment.

    • Mathias says:

      01:56pm | 09/06/11

      Sorry mate, it wasn’t meant to be an insult. I better say something OT… um… ahhh… How about that weather hey? Damn chilly outside.

    • DH says:

      02:29pm | 09/06/11

      No seriously, I DID take it as a compliment.  As you would, if you’d previously had David Schwimmer, KD Lang and Noel from Popstars.

      Mmm… there’s an article in there somewhere.

    • Kika says:

      12:59pm | 09/06/11

      Today reminds me of my summer days in Norway - grey skies, a little blowy and the wind being really icy.

    • Steve says:

      01:53pm | 09/06/11

      I camped in Norway inside the arctic circle in Autumn. I left my beers outside the tent for a perfect chill.

      The Autumn colours were so magnificent that they appeared to be unreal.

      I learnt a Viking saying in Norway “There is no such thing as cold weather only inadequate clothing”

    • Steve says:

      01:08pm | 09/06/11

      You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.

    • sludger says:

      01:33pm | 09/06/11

      Oh dammit Steve, I know that Subterranean Homesick Blues line and now I feel old.  Time for my prune juice.

    • Steve says:

      03:44pm | 09/06/11

      Thanks Sludger. I was wondering if someone would pick up on it. I was going to sign off R. Zimmerman but didn’t want to make it too easy.

    • Gladys says:

      01:09pm | 09/06/11

      It’s 12 degrees in Brisbane today. They said it would be 18. There’s no wind, it’s just plain cold.

      Now, Brass Monkeys - I thought it was a plate that held the cannon balls and when it got cold enough it would shrink. No. It was actually the description of the parts of the brass monkeys that would fall off.

      I’m too cold to type it out in full so you can just click the link yourself.


    • SimpleSimon says:

      01:26pm | 09/06/11

      12 degrees would be lovely - I envy you and your double-digit temperatures!

    • Bev says:

      05:19pm | 09/06/11

      Your first definition was correct.
      Brass Monkeys were bolted to the ships deck near each cannon.  The plate had 4x4 holes and the cannon balls were stacked 4x4 3x3 2x2 and 1 on top of each other.  The cannon balls were heavy enough to hold each other in place as the ship heaved and rolled. In cold weather the brass shrunk more than the cannon balls (iron) and the balls popped off. So in order to set things right they had to heat the brass monkey so it expanded before they could restack the cannon balls.  Why brass? It did not corrode as quickly as an iron plate would have.  There ya go a nice piece of trivia!

    • fairsfair says:

      01:13pm | 09/06/11

      I find the undies run to the clothesline of a morning helps stand you in good stead for the day ahead.

      If you can make back to your bedroom after getting your shirt off the line wearing only a bra and jocks without experiencing any extreme conditions - you are probably set for a good day.

      The Twelth Man’s pitch report for Brisbane is my all time favourite weather description. It generally applies to Cairns even in the depths of “winter”.

    • nossy says:

      01:29pm | 09/06/11

      Call me a sick puppy FF but I would like to see that !  hahahahhha

    • AliceC says:

      01:40pm | 09/06/11

      I base it on how cold the water is coming out of the cold tap. If chunks of ice fall out, scarf plus coat required.

    • fairsfair says:

      01:50pm | 09/06/11

      Yes Nossy, it probably would make puppies sick if there were any in the general vicinity wink

    • Ben C says:

      03:33pm | 09/06/11

      @ nossy

      Rarely, if ever, do I agree with you, but in this instance I’ll be happy to take a ringside seat with you.

      @ AliceC

      I’m sort of along the same lines, but I use the hot water tap instead - how long does it take for the water to get hot.

    • Nick says:

      01:27pm | 09/06/11

      Climate change is a myth by the lefty bleeding heart brigade to keep us guilty and to keep their hands deep in our pocket.

      Leftism is a cancer

    • AliceC says:

      01:41pm | 09/06/11

      You do realise the revenue from the tax on the polluting companies goes back to the Australian public, and is not based on who’s a leftie?

    • AJ says:

      02:28pm | 09/06/11

      AliceC, it’s distributed based on income, so it is actually ...

    • RyaN says:

      02:33pm | 09/06/11

      @AliceC: bullshit, how do you know that since the details have yet to be published. If you go on Garnaut then single income families earning less than 80k will be compensated and dual income families earning less than $160k will be compensated. Screw those single income families hard I say, the bastards better pay up on the flood tax too.

    • AliceC says:

      03:22pm | 09/06/11

      Do any of the reports or discussions mention the distribution of the revenue based on political persuasion?

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      04:36pm | 09/06/11

      that’s a lie. I am a member of the Australian public and I won’t be getting any back. 
      It is a method of transferring my money to dole-bludgers and other ALP voters.

    • Annie Letch says:

      01:46pm | 09/06/11

      Elders weather gives a report during the day of the temperature and then “what it feels like” - i’d love the weatherman to just only ever give me what it’s going to feel like.
      I’m on board!

    • bikinis on top says:

      01:47pm | 09/06/11

      my birthday is June 24. Get rid of the dark cold June before then, please.
      Why did I get my birthday in winter??I am so stupid aren’t I ?

    • Geoff - Brisbane says:

      02:19pm | 09/06/11

      Could move to the USA or Darwin. Long hot days in those places in June.

    • Max Redlands says:

      03:08pm | 09/06/11

      @bikinis on top “I am so stupid aren’t I ?”

      well you give that impression ‘tho I susupect it may be an act

    • Bev says:

      06:08pm | 09/06/11

      Should of been born Feb 29 then you only have the problem once every 4 years simple.

    • bikinis on top says:

      08:39pm | 09/06/11

      my cousin was born on February 29.
      He gets gifts either on Feb 29 , Feb 28 or March 1.
      He could die before his 21st birthday( 84 years)

    • Jenanic says:

      11:33pm | 09/06/11

      Are you blonde?

    • RyaN says:

      02:30pm | 09/06/11

      That carbon tax sure is working, look at how much colder its getting!

    • Ben C says:

      03:29pm | 09/06/11

      If this is the result of the carbon tax, then I’m definitely saying no - I want my warm weather!

    • RyaN says:

      05:46pm | 09/06/11

      @Ben C: this is just the start, imagine when it gets implemented just how cold it will get, the science has proven already that just the mere threat of a carbon tax has reduced the global temperatures substantially, when it gets implemented its going to be a LOT colder and you aren’t going to be able to afford to turn on any heaters ever.

    • Rose says:

      02:42pm | 09/06/11

      Simple technique I’ve learnt, either look out the window or go outside and work it out for yourself. Here in Adelaide, between April and October, you always take a jacket just in case!!

    • centurion48 says:

      08:09am | 10/06/11

      Then between November and March take a jacket and a raincoat just in case. Bettter still just find somewhere else to live - I did because I hated Adelaide’s weather except for two weeks in January (or February, or sometimes March) when it got hot.

    • S.L says:

      03:55pm | 09/06/11

      I’ve read climate change protagonists blame the cool snap on global warming!
      I’ll just sit back and watch all the pink elephants fly past….............

    • Bumpkin says:

      04:05pm | 09/06/11

      Look.. ok.. I’m no weather guy but I’m from the south coast of Victoria so I’m a weather guy. Its basically all we’ve got. Weather. And sheep.

      Summer - It’s going to be hot. But because you’re on the coast, there will be wind. Either a gentle ocean zephyr or a scorching northerner. Sometimes the sky explodes with storms from the sou-west, in which case the wind will be coming from “everywhere” and the rain will hurt. You should have had the shearing & dipping done by 2nd week of December.

      Autumn - It’s going to be windy. And because you’re on the coast, you’ll get sand in everything. The gales will range from “fresh” (about 70km/h) to “fark” (90km/h+), anywhere from south to southeast or sou-west. Make sure you rescue any abandoned lambs & keep ‘em in the shearing shed before the frost gets em. Take the yearlings to market & your best couple straight to the butcher for yourself.

      Winter - It will be cold. Bring a jacket - what are you, an idiot? Sheesh. The rains will start in the morning (sometime late May or early June) and continue until 5pm September 13. Surprisingly, there will be still days, and the continual low pressure systems mean good, long, clean swells off Bass Strait and the salmon will be on the bite. Until the wind kicks up and then everything’s fucked again. Leave the umbrella (useless), just have a good waterproof jacket. Dag the sheep. Dams are full - go yabbying.

      Spring - Finals are on. Horse racing is on. The lawns need mowing. Therefore there will be wind and rain interspersed with blasts of sun that make you go “ah thats better” and a while later “arr.. thats warm” and take your jacket off so the rains/wind will have some fresh skin to aim at. Put the ram in the ewes paddock. Try not to step on a snake.

    • A says:

      05:18pm | 09/06/11

      Quite possibly the funniest (and apt) comment I have seen on the punch.

      Well played.

    • Steve says:

      05:22pm | 09/06/11

      By the way bumkin, how’s the frost out on the pumpkin. Sorry.

    • Jenanic says:

      11:38pm | 09/06/11

      You should have your own column. Thanks for the entertainment.

    • Bumpkin says:

      09:43am | 10/06/11

      ..just remembered - a wether is a kind of sheep, too..

      Pumpkins are autumn harvest. In winter its asparagus.. late winter/early spring you put the spuds in.
      as for today.. sun’s up, and its a southerly.

    • Mitch says:

      04:19pm | 09/06/11

      Meteorologists fail forever.  Not only do they ignore the wind, they ignore the humidity as well.  They give the impression to people that 65% humidity is the same no matter if it’s 15 degrees (an average Melbourne winter day humidity wise i.e. pretty dry) or 35 degrees (North Queensland in the peak of wet season), the latter situation of which people will be incorrectly claiming its 90% humidity because they’ll be sweating even if sitting down.  Relative humidity is all well and good if you want to tell people the chance of rain falling from ground level, not too good if you want to tell people how muggy it will be.  Why they don’t show the dew point, which is the main indication of how muggy the weather will be is beyond me.

      The wind took the apparent temperature in Melbourne the other day to 0 by 9pm, which would have been nice to know before I went out, would have gone looking for the thermals.  But that’s ok because the real temperature was still 8!

    • Pete #205 says:

      05:00pm | 09/06/11

      Again, don’t tar meteorlogists with the same brush as weather presenters.  You really want to know what’s going on?  Check out the BOM website for goodness sake.  It has everything you need and more.  And… zero degrees, awww…poor you.

    • Mitch says:

      04:16am | 10/06/11

      I was talking about weather predictions you goose, something that the BOM website doesn’t do outside of temperature, chance of rain (in some states) and UV levels.  Great for historical data, not so great for weather forcasts.

      And I’ve been in -20 before, I’d just rather not be in freezing weather or at least know it’s coming.  My point is that none of the websites nor the news said the apparent temperature would be that cold.

    • Pete #205 says:

      09:31am | 10/06/11

      My point was about you not knowing that the wind chill would hit 0 the other day before you headed out.  Surely a look at the latest weather observations for your closest station would show you how the apparent temperature had been trending against the air temperature for the few hours prior.  And the dew point is listed there too.  I’ve taken to checking my little weather app, with rain radar and all, every time I step out. 

      It’s not my field but I would guess that predicting wind chill is a bit of a crap shoot.  That probably why they don’t do it.  Or maybe the “pay-for” services do it, I don’t know.

      The crack about poor you in 0 degrees wasn’t serious… I just remembered the Sydney news going nuts that the apparent temperature had reached single figures.  Here it hadn’t gone above zero for about 48 hours.

    • Outraged says:

      05:32pm | 09/06/11

      I don’t like The Weather Report at the end of the news each day!

      I swear, the forecast for every day of every week has a little symbol of a sun peeking out behind some clouds!

      They are covering all their bases! So, if it IS sunny…they can say: “Well, we had a little picture of a sun, so we were right!”...BUT if it ISN’T sunny…they can say: “Well, we had a little picture of a cloud, so we were right”!

    • Col. of Blackburn says:

      07:09pm | 09/06/11

      Forget the Bureau of Meteorology, all you need is a trusty Weather Rock.
      If the rock moves:- it’s windy
      If the rock is wet:- it’s raining
      If the rock casts a shadow:- it’s sunny
      If the rock doesn’t move:- it’s calm
      If the rock doesn’t cast a shadow:- It’s overcast
      And lastly and most importantly, If the string burns through and the rock falls to the ground:- You’re camped too bloody close to a bushfire! wink

    • sir ronald bradnam says:

      08:19am | 10/06/11

      The BOM have just installed a new piece of equipment that will improve their weather predictions substantially….its called a window.

    • Sarah says:

      09:50am | 10/06/11

      I thought the role of TV weathermen was to introduce a primary school choir or some crap, not to actually tell you what the weather would be like. That’s for commercial TV anyway.

    • Shenanigans says:

      11:02am | 10/06/11

      all of you need to go live in Canberra before you start crying about how cold it is. normal day in winter is about 5, but the actual temprature is about -20 because the sun appears to forget Canberra even exists, can’t blame it really even i forget Canberra exists sometimes

    • FNQ Winter says:

      05:43pm | 10/06/11

      You guys should move to Cairns - 27 degrees top tomorrow, 18 degrees minimum. That’ll be early in the morning, no doubt.
      Mind you, last week we had some 12 degree mornings which was freezing for us :-p but a lot of that had to do with that dreaded wind chill!

    • FNQSUX says:

      03:12pm | 11/06/11


      Can’t stand the humidity, rain in the summer and year round rednecks.

    • Xexilia says:

      11:34am | 14/06/11

      I feel so much hapiper now I understand all this. Thanks!


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