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Fire danger about to ease in northwestern Australia

Bob Neil, Tuesday August 5, 2014 - 13:37 EST

Australia's northwest has been exposed to severe fire danger, but the danger is about to ease as fresh, gusty, dry southeasterly winds ease.

These southeasterlies have been blowing around a strong high pressure system, lying over southern Australia, blowing across the dry interior and dropping humidity to below 10 percent over the Top End, Kimberley and Pilbara on Tuesday.

The humidity dropped to nine percent in the Pilbara's Port Hedland, a result of wind gusts to 65km/h, leading to severe fire danger.

In the Kimberley and Top End fire danger has been very high. In Broome gusts to 60km/h helped humidity drop to 13 percent and in Darwin 45km/h winds dropped humidity to just six percent at lunchtime.

However, this dry wind will ease during Wednesday and Thursday and its direction will also turn more easterly then northeasterly as the high pressure system weakens and loses its grip over the northwestern tropics. This change in wind direction will bring in relatively humid air from the eastern tropics, where showers are persistent.

As a result, fire bans and fire weather warnings in the Darwin, Katherine and Kimberley areas should be cancelled. These areas can expect a fairly chilly night and morning ahead before rising humidity helps warm things up again.

Further south where winds have been even drier, the chill has already arrived. Tennant Creek has just had its coldest August morning in 24 years, dipping to 6.6 degrees, eight degrees below average and their equal coldest morning of the year.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2014

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