Australia Faces Extreme Fire Danger - In Spring!

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Sydeny swelters in record Spring heat wave

Hot in the city: Sydney, Australia is likely to swelter on Thursday with temperatures predicted to reach 40 degrees. Extreme unseasonal weather is expected across much of NSW on Thursday, prompting fire authorities to issue "extreme fire danger" warnings for major populated areas.

Sydney is forecast to reach 37 degrees - 15 above the long-term average - and other areas may climb to 40, with winds gusting as high as 70 kilometres per hour in some regions. Sydney has already posted record warmth for the year to date, the winter and September

"These conditions mean there is potential for the rapid spread of fire," Shane Fitzsimmons, Rural Fire Service Commissioner, said. The warning, one level before the "catastrophic" level, applies to the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions.

A total fire ban, Sydney's fifth so far this spring, is expected to be set for Thursday. If the forecast top is reached in Sydney, it would be the warmest day since last January 18's blistering 45.8 degrees .

Thursday's maximum may also challenge Sydney's current early-season high of 37.4 degrees, reached on October 4, 1942, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The city's current October record is 38.2 degrees set in 2004.

Sydney has already posted record warmth for the year to date, the winter and September. With little rain since mid-June and the three-month outlook pointing to warmer and drier than average conditions, much of NSW is now primed for a tough fire season.

As of late Tuesday, the state had 37 fires burning, 10 of them yet to be contained. None of those 10 blazes are in the regions expecting extreme fire danger conditions on Thursday, an RFS spokesman said. The abnormally warm weather is similar to recent bursts, said Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology.





Allan Barker

October 8th 2013



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