Weather News

Southerly change sweeping up NSW coast

Ben Domensino, Tuesday November 12, 2019 - 15:31 EDT

A southerly buster is sweeping up the NSW coast, on track to pass through Wollongong, Sydney and Newcastle during the late afternoon and early evening.

Hot, dry and windy weather has been elevating fire danger ratings across most of NSW on Tuesday. This dangerous fire weather is occurring ahead of an approaching cold front, which will sweep over the state from south to north between now and Wednesday morning.

The southerly change reached Green Cape on the state's far south coast at 10am on Tuesday and Merimbula around 11am. A few hours later, the southerly hit Moruya just before 2pm, dropping the temperature by 14 degrees in 14 minutes.

This southerly buster will continue its march up the NSW coast in the coming hours, reaching Wollongong around 5-6pm, Sydney near 7pm and Newcastle by 9pm. The change has the potential to cause damaging winds along the coastal fringe, prompting a severe weather warning as far north as Newcastle.

Image: Forecast surface wind at 7pm AEDT according to the ACCESS-R model, showing the southerly change near Sydney.

While the strongest winds are occurring along the coast, this cold front is also causing a southwesterly change to spread across inland areas of NSW.

Unfortunately, the dry cool change is going to cause challenging conditions for firefighters in central and northern NSW on Tuesday night. Despite a welcome temperature drop, the abrupt shift in wind direction with this change will cause fires to start moving in a different direction. Fire can become more difficult to control with the passage of a wind change.

As of 3pm, temperatures had reached 39 degrees at Casino in the state's north and 38 degrees at both Penrith and Sydney Airport. The combination of this heat with wind gusts over 90km/h and relative humidity below 10 percent has caused Extreme and Catastrophic fire danger ratings in some parts of the state. 

Emergency Warnings were in place for 11 bushfires in NSW at 3pm, with more than 80 separate incidents across the state according to the RFS.

Visit https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me for the latest fire information in NSW.

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