Weather News

Dangerous fire weather spreading to VIC and NSW

Ben Domensino, Monday January 25, 2021 - 10:53 EDT

A burst of hot and windy weather that fuelled dangerous bushfires in SA on the weekend will spread into Victoria and southern NSW today.

A hot air mass drifting over SA on Sunday caused fire danger ratings to reach Extreme to Catastrophic levels in some parts of the state. The summer heatwave saw temperatures reach 45ºC at Port Augusta and Murray Bridge Airport and nearly 43ºC in Adelaide, which was the city's hottest day in a year.

Image: Smoke rising above the Cherry Gardens fire in SA on Sunday. Source: @chris_handler_photography / Instagram

Image: Smoke rising over the Adelaide Hill on Sunday evening, as seen from the Skye Lookout. Source: @andreaharper_ / Instagram


Now, this heat is spreading further east and targeting parts of Victoria and NSW.

Temperatures are forecast to reach 42 to 43 degrees in some parts of northern Victoria and southern NSW on Monday afternoon. This heat, combined with gusty northwesterly winds, will cause Very High to Severe fire danger ratings in parts of both states.

Total fire bans have been issued in Victoria's Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Country, North Central, North East and East Gippsland districts, and across the Riverina district in NSW on Monday.

Any fires that start in today's hot and windy weather will be difficult to control and may threaten lives and properties.

Image: Forecast surface temperature at 5pm AEST on Monday, according to the ECMWF model.

The heat will move further north on Tuesday, likely causing Very High fire danger ratings in parts of southern and central NSW, including Sydney.

Unlike last summer, this season has so far been fairly quiet in terms of bushfires in southeastern Australia. This is thanks to higher levels of moisture in the soil and atmosphere and lower temperatures during the season to date.

In addition to causing dangerous fire weather, Monday's hot weather is part of a multi-day heatwave that's sweeping over southeastern and eastern Australia. This heatwave will linger into the middle of the week in parts of NSW and Queensland.

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