Weather News

Hobart temperature drops 10C in 10 minutes as fires burn in Tasmania's north-east

By Erin Cooper, Friday November 22, 2019 - 07:57 EDT
ABC licensed image
Temperatures in Hobart went over 36 degrees Celsius today. - ABC licensed

Temperatures in the south of Tasmania dropped 10 degrees Celsius in 10 minutes on Thursday.

At midday, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) measured Hobart's temperature at 36.1C, but plunged to 26C minutes later.

It then decreased further to 21C, before going up slightly to 23C by 1:00pm.

As of 4PM, the temperature had decreased again to 17.9C.

BOM meteorologist Lizzie Donovan said it was all because of a change in the direction of the wind.

"It's gone from a really warm north-westerly, which is where the winds are coming off the mainland really hot and dry, travelling over Tassie picking up warmth as it gets into the city, then it's sort of flung around to a south-westerly," she explained.

"Those winds come from Antarctica, so it's just a complete air-mass change, so it's a lot cooler."

Perhaps surprisingly, Ms Donovan said such a rapid decrease in temperature was quite common.

"It will often happen when we get some sort of air-mass change like that," she said.

"You'd see the biggest temperature change if you went from a strong northerly to a strong southerly because wind from the north is really warm and anything coming from the south is really cold.

"Anytime you have a really warm day and you have a cold front come through, you'll get that sort of temperature drop happen."

Winds cause chaos at Hobart Airport

The strong winds wreaked havoc at Hobart Airport.

Early on Thursday afternoon, two incoming Jetstar flights were diverted to Launceston after the gusty cold front made it unsafe to land.

Just before 2:30pm, a spokesman said two outgoing Virgin flights were stuck on the tarmac.

A Qantas inbound flight from Melbourne had also been delayed, and a media conference planned for the WBBL Hobart Hurricanes team was cancelled because it was not known when they would arrive in Hobart.

Changing fire danger as winds change direction

As of 1:30pm, a bushfire burning at Mangana in north-east Tasmania was downgraded from watch-and-act to advice level.

Another fire in the north-east at Mathinna has been at advice level since Wednesday night.

Sustainable Timbers Tasmania incident controller Peter Williams told ABC Radio Hobart the Mathinna fire had been contained after extensive backburning.

He said crews and aircraft were in place to make sure things did not flare up again.

"We've got 16 crews out there on site and we've actually got four helicopters [that] will be based at Mathinna, two for the fire that we're working on and two on standby," he said.

Parts of Tasmania's east and south are under a total fire ban until 2:00am Friday, with hot temperatures and winds gusts causing issues for firefighters.

The Bureau of Meteorology says the temperature at Dunalley in the south-east topped 37.7C degrees Celsius this morning, the second highest November temperature recorded so far.

Ms Donovan said the fire danger ratings were changing "constantly" as the winds change.

Parts of the midlands and east coast were upgraded to extreme fire danger just before 1:00pm, but Ms Donovan said that would likely change as the cold front worked its way up the state.

Thunderstorms were forecast for Thursday afternoon, but conditions were expected to ease on Friday.



© ABC 2019

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