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Australia: Fears for the elderly as records tumble in cold Canberra

Canberra has recorded its coldest August night in two decades, with the mercury dropping below -7 degrees Celsius.

The nation’s capital has also recorded its coldest morning in three years.

“We last had a -8C back in July 2011, but we got down to -7.6C at 6:54am,” Sean Carson from the Bureau of Meteorology told .

“Your beer would be warmer in the fridge than being outside.” 

Across the capital, residents awoke to discover frozen bird baths, ice-encrusted lawns and cars in cold storage.

One Canberran was greeted by her frost-laden pet alpaca.

Canberra’s winter got off to a mild start in June, while July brought nights that were colder than average, dropping below -5C.

The chilly conditions prompted a health warning.

Doctor David Caldicott from Calvary Hospital said low temperatures could prove dangerous for some people by dropping their core temperature.

“There are some people who are more susceptible to that,” he said. 

“The elderly can get profoundly unwell and their resuscitation as it often comes to it can be quite difficult. 

“If you have asthma, that can actually be fairly significantly aggravated by cold weather. 

“This is a great opportunity to catch up with your neighbours, knock on the door and make sure they’re okay.”

Dr Caldicott said babies were also at risk of heat loss.

“If you can put lots of layers on little babies, rug them up as if you’re taking them to the North Pole; put hats on, make sure there’s almost no exposed skin,” he said.

– ABC/Weatherzone


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