Extremely dry and hot conditions have been predicted all over Australia for today and the weekend. This news has fuelled warnings of extreme risks of fire in some states.
After a high risk heatwave was declared by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria have all announced total fire bans in parts of their states. While South Australia is expected to get cooler conditions, New South Wales is predicted to have worsening conditions over the weekend.
Sydney can expect to be greeted with another huge heatwave only two weeks after the city of Penrith in Sydney’s west recorded its highest temperatures in nearly 80 years. Several parts of NSW have been issued with a high risk fire danger rating including the Greater Sydney, Central Ranges, Greater Hunter, Northern Slopes and North Western regions.
There are roughly 20 fires currently burning throughout NSW, with 10 of them being uncontained. So far there have been no threats to lives or property.
Greg Allan of the Rural Fire Service said that all firefighters were at a high alert stage as temperatures in Western Sydney began to top over 40 degrees. He confirmed that Sydney was likely to see “hot and dry conditions” for Friday and over the weekend.
Mr Allan went on to stress the importance of families knowing their fire plan and staying aware of the fire danger rating.
Victoria is expected to have sweltering conditions today with parts of the state reaching the mid-40’s while Melbourne gets to 42 degrees around midday. Like NSW there are several fires ongoing throughout the state but none that are threatening communities.
Senior forecaster for the BoM, Stephen King, said that there would be a sudden drop in temperature for the southern parts of Victoria tonight. He said that by night time the temperature in Melbourne and surrounding areas should reach a comfortable 19 degrees.
While southern Victoria will enjoy some relief, the northern parts of the state are expected to continue with temperatures past 40 degrees. Craig Lapsley, Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner, said that people should be prepared for power outages.
It’s expected that the extreme temperatures will affect the Australian Open, pushing players to their physical limits.
South Australia is expected to go through another day of high heat and fire warning with temperatures saying in the high 30’s to low 40’s. Like Melbourne there is expected to be some relief over the weekend as temperatures drop to mid to low 30’s.
However, Emergency Service Volunteers will be handing out water the Adelaide Airport and providing safety advice to tourists who may not have been prepared for the blistering heat.