Monday, February 20, 2017

Land of extremes

I've often said that Australia is a land of extremes and we've sure seen that this last few days in New South Wales.

February's our most humid month and on top of that we've had temperatures up in the high thirties Celsius, and in the west of Sydney up to 46C...and more.

The hot weather was here for days, inevitably bringing bushfires. One down near the ACT destroyed fifteen homes and over 3,000 hectares were burnt.

People were evacuated and thankfully no lives were lost.

Well, no human lives but the animals weren't as lucky.

This photo from the Sydney Morning Herald shows kangaroos desperately trying to get away from the flames.



Then suddenly we had three days of storms, temperature dropped way down into the very low twenties and many suburbs were lashed by hailstorms.

People posted photos on Twitter and Facebook and the size of the hailstones was amazing. This was posted on Twitter by Kaija Ross:


It was a cold night but today the temp is up at 28C, clear blue sky and you'd think the storm didn't happen!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Could have been worse

The heatwave has moved north - Queensland's getting it now - but it's left its mark on NSW with huge areas burnt in over eighty bushfires.

It seems around twenty homes have been lost, with the tiny village of Uarbry all but totally destroyed according to early reports.  Called the Sir Ivan Fire, it had burned over 40,000 hectares by this morning and isn't yet contained. No wonder, the RFS estimates the active fire edge around the blaze as 200 kilometres

People there have lost everything, fleeing in a hurry as the fire tore down on them with just the clothes they were wearing.

The ABC reports farmer Warren Jarvis telling them that his house was "totally gone" when a fire raced over the hill near his property near Cassilis and went "mad".

"My house and all my property is totally gone. Three greyhounds, other cats, all my chooks, probably my sheep and cattle," he said.

Thankfully no-one was killed, but not so lucky for the animals, native and farm stock, and pets. Two firefighters and one civilian have been injured, an amazingly low number considering the extent of the fires,

Saturday, February 11, 2017

We have weather

Much of eastern Australia is in the grip of a heatwave, and we've certainly got that in New South Wales.

Sydney Airport yesterday was over 47C, it was 41C here on the coast. Today is a degree or two cooler but there are dire warnings for tomorrow.

The Rural Fire Service Commissioner has just said that tomorrow's weather will be 'as bad as it gets, the worst possible conditions'' for bushfires. Winds ahead of a southerly change plus high temperatures, low humidity and a huge amount of fuel because of the record winter rainfall have created the conditions.

This afternoon there are 49 bush or grass fires burning across NSW, 17 of which were not contained, according to the RFS.

The official warning level for tomorrow ranges from 'severe' in many areas to  'catastrophic' over a large area from the far west to the coast.and he warns that firefighters may simply be overwhelmed.

In catastrophic conditions he says that grass fires move at 30kph, in bush they move at 10kph, and spot fires can start kilometres ahead of the main fire front.

So he's told everyone to be on high alert and not to delay in evacuating if a fire starts.

Fingers crossed.