A vigorous cold front and trough are generating dangerous fire conditions, damaging wind gusts, rain areas and thunderstorms over large areas of southern and eastern Australia.
The focus of the wild weather today is on South Australia as the system sweeps through the state.
A severe weather warning is currently in place for all districts except Kangaroo Island for wind speeds averaging up to 60km/h, as well as wind gusts of 90-120km/h.
Gusts have already reached 107km/h at Snowtown, the town's strongest in eight years. Murray Bridge saw a gust of 89km/h and Mount Crowford 94km/h, their strongest in a year. Wind gusts are expected to be strongest later this evening as the front sweeps through.
Associated showers and thunderstorms are flaring up along the troughline, with thunderstorms potentially producing wind gusts of similar strengths. Showers will generally bring less than 2-3mm for most parts, however about the Flinders and the southeast, falls of 5-10mm are possible.
Hot air is also filtering in ahead of the trough. While cloud is preventing it from getting too hot in the south, temperatures are reaching into the high 30's for the north. This is combining with the strong winds to bring dangerous fire conditions. At places such as Maree, Leigh Creek and Coober Pedy, the Fire Danger Rating (FDR) has reached catastrophic.
These hot, dry and windy conditions are also extending into northern parts of Victoria and western NSW today, producing firey conditions. Places such as Hay, Fowlers Gap and Wilcannia have seen the FDR reach into extreme.
The system will push into Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales overnight and into tomorrow, causing the focus of the wild weather to be further east.
Wind gusts of 90-100km/h are possible for large parts of Victoria, Tasmania as well as southern and central parts of New South Wales, reaching up to 130km/h about alpine areas.
As the system moves east, it will also gain moisture, at least for southern areas.
In TAS, widespread falls of 20-30mm are likely with some places about the ranges likely to see in excess of 50mm. In VIC, a widespread 5-10mm is likely, although some parts may pick up as much as 30mm.
Further north, the system won't have quite as much moisture. Much of New South Wales can expect less than 5mm, while some places along the coast may even remain dry. Parts of the Northern Tablelands may see up to 5-10mm, while the west and south of the state should see 5-15mm.
The system will push into Queensland during the afternoon. Southern parts of the state including the Maranoa and Warrego and Darling Downs and Granite Belt can expect falls of 5-10mm. This could be some places best rain in months, which will help ease the drought and fire situation for the time being. Further north however, there will be little if any rain.
© Weatherzone 2013
11:26 EDT Scorching temperatures are finally starting to drop over Australia's interior as Santa delivers cloud and rain for Christmas.