Elderly woman dies in record heat

Friday's record heat claimed the life of a much-loved member of the Eurobodalla community.

Estelle Neilson, 83, was at a Liberal Party booth at the Eurobodalla Show at Moruya Showground when she complained of feeling ill due to the heat and said she had to go home.

The Moruya CWA and Liberal Party stalwart reached the entrance of the driveway of her Congo home and it is believed that this was when she suffered a cardiac arrest.

Her car struck the post at the entrance of the driveway and, hearing the noise, her husband Nigel investigated.

He called 000 immediately but ambulance officers were unable to revive her and she died at the scene.

Also on Friday, a 66-year-old man and a 94-year-old man presented at Moruya Hospital suffering from dehydration, and two elderly women - aged 80 and 85 - presented at Batemans Bay Hospital, both with heat stroke. 

All these patients were discharged after treatment.

“It was one of the days that burnt everything up,” Moruya resident Cec Clarke said.

Mr Clarke has lived in Moruya for 76 of his 91 years and cannot recall a day that hot ever before.

He has been measuring the climate and weather at his home for decades and has a weather station, featuring climate and weather measuring instruments.

The temperatures it recorded on Friday were staggering and unprecedented.

“At 11.30am, 45.2C, at 12.45pm, 46.1C, at 12.50pm, 47C, at 2pm, 46.6C, at 2.15pm, 47.8, and at 2.45pm, 48.5C,” Mr Clarke said.

“After that it started to go down a bit.”

The Bureau of Meteorology, which records temperatures from a station at Catalina Country Club, recorded a maximum of 45.6C on Friday, a record, and Moruya Airport also registered a top temperature of 45.6C. 

The youngest members of the Eurobodalla community were among the most vulnerable to the heat, so Moruya Kindergarten and Day Care Centre staff weren’t taking any chances.

“We got the kids out early, about 7.45am, for their morning play, and had them back inside in the air conditioning at nine,” teacher Sonia Whitley said.

Unlike most days, the kids weren’t keen to venture out again until late in the afternoon.

“We had 20 minutes of water play time in the afternoon,” Ms Whitley recalled. “We got the water trough out and the kids played with boats and sea animals and got sprayed with the hose.”

Anthony Smits of Premier Pressure Cleaners in Batemans Bay was leading a 10-man crew at Carroll College.

“It was the hottest I’ve ever worked in,” he said. “I sent everyone home at about 12.30pm.”

Mr Smits’ car thermometer recorded a temperature of 47C at Carroll College and then 51C in the Batemans Bay CBD.

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