[Reprised from Wombaticus Ad Nauseam, October 2007.]
Unexpectedly nice weather caused havoc in Dunedin yesterday, as temperatures soared to 18 degrees.
As local radio stations advised local residents to stay inside, police fielded a number of calls from people alarmed at the presence of an intense ball of fire in the sky. “We assured them it was only the sun,” said a police spokeswoman.
By lunchtime, Dunedin hospital’s Accident and Emergency department was overwhelmed by dozens of bald-headed men with sun-burnt scalps. “Their pallid pates are particularly susceptible to the sun’s ultraviolet rays,” said a doctor, adding that most of the patients had not heard of sun-screen. “We never bothered to take our ‘Slip Slop Slap’ campaign that far south,” a spokesman for the Cancer Society acknowledged, when contacted for comment.
Emergency services were stretched to the limit as scores of pedestrians around the city succumbed to heatstroke. The Fire Service were called in to attend one casualty on St. David St., a middle-aged woman who had to be cut free from several layers of polypropylene. The Mayor reacted quickly to the sudden crisis, appealing to those in other parts of New Zealand accustomed to sunshine to send teeshirts, shorts and light cotton garments.
Fortunately for the people of Dunedin, the crisis was short-lived. By early afternoon it had clouded over, and by late afternoon the temperature had plummeted to normal levels. By evening Dunedin was being lashed by a cold southerly bringing heavy rain.