Australian News

Catastrophic bushfire conditions, thunderstorms and severe weather forecast in parts of SA


December 30, 2019 08:25:02

South Australia will today face another testing day of weather extremes with temperatures in the mid-40s in many parts, coupled with winds of up to 55 kilometres an hour later today.

Key points:

  • Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-40s in many regions across the state today
  • A watch and act message has been issued for a fire at Gosse, on Kangaroo Island
  • The CFS says extra crews will be called in today to combat any bushfire outbreaks

Catastrophic fire danger ratings have been declared for the Mid North, Mount Lofty Ranges and Yorke Peninsula, with severe to extreme fire danger ratings for all other districts.

A severe thunderstorm warning was also issued for parts of the state, with damaging winds forecast for the Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and Mount Lofty Ranges.

However, the severe thunderstorm warning has since been cancelled for those districts.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has forecast damaging wind gusts in excess of 90kph in Maitland, Kingscote, Victor Harbor, Ardrossan and Warooka.

It said a wind gust of 100kph had been observed at Port Lincoln about 3:30am.

Temperatures in the mid-40s are expected in most of the north of the state today while Adelaide is tipped to reach 40 degrees Celsius.

The BOM warned today’s extreme weather was expected to be similar to the catastrophic conditions that started fires in the Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island and the south-east over the past fortnight.

BOM meteorologist John Fisher said thunderstorms were aslo expected to increase the fire danger.

“We are expecting broad areas of thunderstorm development, quite gusty thunderstorm development across the state generally and ahead of that front, so not good conditions,” he said.

“It is a high-end, fire-weather day and does have many similarities to the conditions we saw back on Friday the 20th of December.”

Mr Fisher said a cool afternoon change would bring some much-needed relief from the heat, but it may also bring dry lightning strikes.

“So the front which will finally bring an end to our heatwave will move through western parts of the state during the morning,” he said.

“Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges will probably see those cooler conditions from around 1:00pm to 3:00pm, then we’ll see that front move through eastern districts during the afternoon and evening.”

‘Risk today that more fires could start’

This morning, BOM forecaster Matt Bass said the minimum temperature in Adelaide overnight was 27.2C and storms had moved across the state already.

“We have seen quite a few storms already out over the west of the state, across Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island and a couple over the Yorke Peninsula,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“There is a chance of seeing a thunderstorm, more likely this morning or early this afternoon in Adelaide.”

He said fires had already started in parts of the state, including Kangaroo Island.

“Those storms have started a couple of fires already over on Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island,” he said.

“There is a risk today with lightning around that more fires could start.

“Be aware, particularly of the dry lightning potential as that comes through, and the wind change.”

‘Potential for hotspot breakout is incredible’

The Country Fire Service (CFS) warned those in bushfire-prone areas to remain vigilant and make decisions early about staying or leaving their property.

CFS chief Mark Jones yesterday said extra crews had been called in to help combat any outbreaks that flare up in the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island fires, which have been burning since December 20.

“In such hot weather and strong winds that back up and go in various directions, the potential for hotspot breakout is incredible,” he said.

The CFS this morning issued a watch and act message for a bushfire burning at Gosse, on Kangaroo Island.

It said the fire was burning uncontrolled and in a south-easterly direction near the West End Highway, Playford Highway Hanson Bay, Cape Bouger, Kelly Hill, Karata and South Coast Rd.

Regional areas across the state likely to be the hottest include Oodnadatta, which is tipped to peak at 46C, also with a possible storm.

Coober Pedy is tipped to reach 45C, as is Roxby Downs, Tarcoola and Woomera, while Port Pirie and Port Augusta, in the mid north of the state, are also tipped to reach 45C.

















First posted

December 30, 2019 07:21:04

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