Fire danger to diminish next week in southeastern AustraliaBrett Dutschke, Thursday October 17, 2013 - 19:04 EDT
Southern parts of Australia have been dealt many days of severe fire danger this season but significant easing in conditions is due as early as next week.
This will be welcome news for many fire fighters who have been battling blazes with high frequency since August in southeastern states, particularly in New South Wales.
Today will be the worst fire-weather day for the next week or so. Fire danger ratings have reached extreme in central parts of NSW, including the Sydney area, even catastrophic in some parts. Some parts, including Bankstown, Camden and Sydney Airport, have recorded their highest fire danger rating in around a decade.
Conditions will deteriorate again this weekend across South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and into Monday in NSW but it won't become as bad as today due to lighter winds and higher humidity.
From next Tuesday conditions should improve enough for the hazard-control program to resume in some areas. Hazard control (burn-offs) have been put on hold recently due to the extreme fire weather.
Next week and much of the following week will be cooler, calmer, more humid with an increased chance of rainfall. This will lead to a reduction in fire danger.
The weather pattern is changing, as it typically does at this time of year. The belt of high pressure is starting to slip south, causing any intense cold fronts to shift further south, effectively weakening the wind changes across southeastern Australia.
It has been the intense fronts which have generated strong winds. The fronts have been drawing the hotter-and-drier-than-normal air from central Australia to the coast before bringing abrupt colder changes.
With this shift in weather pattern it means that the area of highest fire danger will move to central Australia and the tropics and edge into Western Australia.
For southeastern Australia, this doesn't mean the bushfire season is over. There will still be some days of concern in November and during summer.
© Weatherzone 2013
More breaking news
Water levels are rising in the Gawler River, with significant flooding expected as it reaches its peak later tonight.
Significant flooding is expected to impact Gawler and surrounding areas north of Adelaide, which will threaten people's safety, the State Emergency Service says.
Three adults and two children have been rescued by helicopter after becoming trapped in floodwaters in Huonville.