Winter hits New Caledonia with 20 degree highs
Winter has hit New Caledonia, as illustrated by this week’s “drawing of the week” in the local paper. It’s taking the mickey out of those of us who have come from Europe recently (Petit jeu : trouvez le zoreil … translates as Little game: spot the European). Those of us who are used to much cooler temperatures find winter in New Caledonia refreshing – and we tend to under-dress, compared to the locals (who are wearing hats, scarves, coats and proper shoes at this time of year).
It was all over the news this week: it’s so cold! 3 degrees lower than our normal temperatures for July. The lowest temperature observed in Nouméa during the day was 20.4 degrees Celsius, dropping down to 15.5 at night. The coldest we’ve ever had in July was in 1947, with 18 degrees during the day and 13.5 at night.
I remember waking up to 6 degrees in May in Paris this last trip back, with a whopping high of 13. When I see people here with coats and scarves on (at 20!), I can’t help but smile.
It’s true that once you’ve been on the island a while, you do acclimate. 20 degrees feels like it’s freezing (as demonstrated by the number of news reports about the subject, the complaints, the coats and runny noses). You start getting sick with colds and flus, you bundle up and stay home. No one but a tourist or two dares go in the water. Board games come out, novels are opened and an outing to the aquarium or cinema is about as far as you can imagine going.
Is this normal? Well, yes.
At least the weather is.
The climate is tropical [in New Caledonia], with a hot and humid period from November to March with temperatures between 27°C and 30°C, and a cooler, dry period from June to August with temperatures between 20°C and 23°C, linked by two short transition periods. The tropical climate is strongly moderated by the oceanic influence and the trade winds that attenuates humidity, which can be close to 80%. The average annual temperature is 23°C, with historical extremes of 2.3°C and 39.1°C.– – Source: Wikipedia
Both the agriculture and tourist industries have been suffering, however, with the cool weather – and worse for the rains (which 2 weeks ago caused millions of francs worth of damage to crops in Thio, Canala, Kouaoua, Houaïlou and Yaté).
Parka, jacket and sweatshirt sales have doubled, however, and I hear stocks are dwindling (such is life on an island, when one has to wait for shipments to come in). Doctors visits are up 35% over the beginning of the month, with colds, bronchitis, sore throats all in vogue.
But as in all things, this too, shall change. Soon we will be back to our sunny, warm days, and the order of the world will be restored.