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21 09, 2017

Record Breaking Heat to sweep NSW this weekend

Issued 3pm Thursday September 21st 2017. Large areas of NSW are expected to be under the pump from a potentially record breaking heatwave between Friday and Sunday which is likely to produce significant fire threats! Above image: Saturday Forecast Maximums via BSCH / OCF


On Friday, a surface trough situated along the Coast of NSW and VIC is likely to help draw in constant North-West winds across the majority of NSW. These hot and dry winds are likely to become gusty over Western parts of NSW which will see the temperature skyrocket into the mid 30’s as well as the fire threat significantly climbing.

Forecast Wind Gusts via WindyTV for NSW and VIC - Pink is over 70km/h, Blue/Aqua is over 90km/h

Forecast Wind Gusts via WindyTV for NSW and VIC – Pink is over 70km/h, Blue/Aqua is over 90km/h

On Saturday, a trough is expected to move through VIC and Southern parts of NSW which will see wind speeds significantly increase across the entirety of Inland NSW thourghout the afternoon, where wind gusts of 70-90km/h are expected and isolated higher gusts of 100km/h are possible. These winds, coupled with extremely low humidity (below 10%) and high temperatures of 35-40ºc are expected to create dangerous fire conditions. Some locations in the North-West of the State are tipped to reach 39-41ºc during the afternoon, this will be record breaking as NSW has never recorded a 40ºc day in September. The North-West winds are also expected to influence the Coastline, with areas like Sydney going for 33ºc and the Western suburbs up to 37ºc. The Hunter may also see temperatures climb into the high 30’s. Total fire bans are likely to be issued across large parts of the State on Friday.

On Sunday, conditions are expected to cool back into the 20’s and low 30’s over the majority of NSW, however the Central and Northern Coastlines as well as Northern Inland districts are still tipped to reach the mid to high 30’s with fire threats remaining elevated through these areas. 

 

Preliminary Fire Danger Threat Map via NSW Rural Fire Service for Saturday

Preliminary Fire Danger Threat Map via NSW Rural Fire Service for Saturday

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21 09, 2017

VERY HIGH to EXTREME Fire Threat this weekend for QLD!

Issued 9am, Thursday September 21st 2017. Southern QLD is expected to be under the pump from one of the most dangerous fire setups in years this weekend amidst a potentially record breaking September heatwave. Above image: Saturday & Sunday fire danger ratings via Rural Fire Service QLD


A trough is expected to enter South-Western and parts of Southern Inland QLD during Saturday, producing strong and very dry North-Westerly winds along it. These winds are expected to gust between 60 and 80km/h, whilst combining with temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40’s along with extremely dry soil content to produce “extremely favourable” conditions for fires to develop. This has lead to the Rural Fire Service in QLD issuing “SEVERE” fire danger ratings for Southern and South-Western QLD. Whilst large parts the State are expected to be under a “VERY HIGH” fire danger.

Wind gusts on Saturday via WindyTV - Pink is over 70km/h, blue/aqua is over 90km/h

Wind gusts on Saturday via WindyTV – Pink is over 70km/h, blue/aqua is over 90km/h

On Sunday, the trough is expected to strengthen and become very well defined. This will likely lead to an increase in winds across Southern QLD during the day where gusts of 60-80km/h are likely and localised gusts in excess of 90km/h are possible. These winds will once again combine with high temperatures of 37-42ºc to produce an “EXTREME” fire threat across the Warrego and Maranoa, “SEVERE” fire threat for the Darling Downs and “VERY HIGH” for much of the remainder of the State. 

 

Wind gusts on Sunday via WindyTV - Pink is over 70km/h, blue/aqua is over 90km/h

Wind gusts on Sunday via WindyTV – Pink is over 70km/h, blue/aqua is over 90km/h

 

With many fires already ongoing, there is the risk that these fires and any new fires could become very fast moving and become out of control quickly due to the strong winds over the weekend. A total fire ban hasn’t officially been issued yet by the Rural Fire Service but it is a strong possibility of happening. So please adhere to the rules of a total fire ban (which will be posted if issued), so that you can ensure your safety as well as everyone else’s safety around you during what could be a very dangerous weekend for fires.

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20 09, 2017

Early Summer Heat coming to SEQ!

Issued 11am Wednesday, September 20th 2017. It looks like South-East QLD is about to get a taste of Summer with temperatures scorching up to 10ºc above average between Friday and at least Monday, possibly longer. Above image – Sunday forecast maximums via OCF / BSCH


The big picture shows a near-stationary high pressure region off the Coast of QLD, linked with a series of low pressure troughs moving through NSW, SA and Southern QLD to produce a constant North to North-West flow across the State and subsequently into South-East QLD. However the localised picture also showers a surface trough parked over South-East QLD from Thursday onwards and it won’t budge… this will force the winds to be drawn into the region and thus the temperatures and fire danger skyrocket!

 

Forecast maximums for South-Eastern QLD on Saturday via OCF / BSCH

Forecast maximums for South-Eastern QLD on Saturday via OCF / BSCH

 

It’ll be warm on Thursday and Friday, theres no denying that… but it probably won’t meet peoples “heatwave” expectations. The positioning of the trough will mean most places will see a seabreeze, and on Friday there is the expectation of some thunderstorms developing over the area – although places like Ipswich, Gatton, Beaudesert (inland from the Coast) will still climb into the 30’s (4-7ºc above average). If you don’t get a storm on Friday though.. there isn’t much hope for rain with this heat as very dry North-Westerly winds dominate from Saturday onwards.

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the trough is going to ever so slightly shift closer to the Coastline blocking the seabreeze effect meaning temperatures skyrocket! Places like the Gold Coast Seaway, Redcliffe, Tewantin.. will still be warm, but lower temperatures compared to other areas. Come back inland to Brisbane and you’re looking at 32ºc Saturday, 35ºc Sunday and 35ºc Monday. Inland further to Ipswich and Gatton and you have 35ºc, 38ºc and 37ºc on the respective days. This dry heat is also expected to be associated with stronger wind gusts – particularly on Sunday and Monday which will see fire danger potential skyrocket also!

 

Forecast maximums for South-Eastern QLD on Monday via OCF / BSCH

Forecast maximums for South-Eastern QLD on Monday via OCF / BSCH

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19 09, 2017

SEVERE Heatwave about to grip Queensland

After the non-existent and dry Winter for Queensland, we are about to be dealt a harsh blow as a prolonged heatwave is forecast to lash the State starting on Thursday in the West and Friday in the East! Above image – Saturday Forecast Maximums via OCF


A high pressure system is forecast to be situated off the Queensland Coast, staying near stationary from Thursday until Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday the high is expected to slowly drift towards the East however the ridge is likely to extend back towards the State. This high is likely to combine a series of low pressure troughs moving through NSW, SA and Southern parts of Queensland, generating a very constant and very dry North-Westerly flow across the region which will see temperatures skyrocket.

Forecast pressure and winds on Friday via WindyTV showing the high in the Pacific, trough over NSW and North-West winds feeding in between both.

Forecast pressure and winds on Friday via WindyTV showing the high in the Pacific, trough over NSW and North-West winds feeding in between both.


From Thursday onwards, temperatures are expected to scorch into the mid to high 30’s across Western parts of the State. By Friday, the heat (35ºc+) should cover the majority of Inland QLD, with 30-35ºc across Eastern parts of the State. On Saturday we could see temperatures rise ito around 40ºc across South-Western QLD with the majority of Inland QLD sitting above 37ºc and places like Ipswich, Beaudesert and Gatton rising into the mid to high 30’s. 

A cooler change is forecast to move through the Southern districts later on Sunday / early Monday however temperatures are likely to remain above 30ºc for most areas (well above average for this time of year). Temperatures across the South-East corner, Central and Northern districts are likely to stay very hot for this time of year (35ºc+). 

The increase heat is expected to also lead to a significant increase in fire danger potential. Fire danger threats should reach at least very high levels, potentially severe across several districts throughout the heatwave period (Thursday to Wednesday). 

 

Forecast temperature anomaly (above or below average) between Thursday and Thursday next week (Sept 21 to 28)

Forecast temperature anomaly (above or below average) between Thursday and Thursday next week (Sept 21 to 28)

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19 09, 2017

Category 5 Maria about to make landfall

Hurricane Maria is about to make landfall over the Leeward Antilles as a monster Category 5 monster, less than 2 weeks after Irma devastated the region and Jose impacted the area! Above image via RAMMB / CIRA


Hurricane Maria which originally developed near the Cape Verde Islands off the Coast of Africa (a notorious area for strong hurricane’s to develop in and very similar to where Irma developed) has slowly tracked Westwards over the last week or so, slowly gaining in the strength. Maria wasn’t looking too serious though until she hit a very favourable environment for rapid development about 48hrs ago and has maintained a strong strengthening process ever since. Maria has just recently been upgraded by the National Hurricane Center to a Category 5 hurricane (the highest rating possible) with sustained winds to 160mph / 255km/h… sadly this is very close to the Leeward Antilles, and there is simply not enough time for weakening or avoiding. 

National Hurricane Center track and warning for Hurricane Maria

National Hurricane Center track and warning for Hurricane Maria

 

Maria is likely to make landfall over the next few days (around midday to 1pm AEST, Tuesday September 19th) as a Category 5 system over the Leeward Antilles. This will no doubt add to the devastation already experienced, with very destructive winds and torrential rainfall causing havoc. Maria is then expected to track more North-Westerly and potentially head straight for Puerto Rico as Category 5 system before moving either over Eastern parts of the Dominican Republic or just to the North as a Major Category 3 or 4 system!

Along Maria’s track, falls of 200-400mm are likely which will cause significant flash flooding, along with very destructive winds which will cause power failure and significant structural damage – for those who still have power and structures, as many of the islands were tragically turned to rubble. Our thoughts go out to those in the region during one of the hardest months they will ever go through!

 

 

Forecast 6 day rainfall via WindyTV for Hurricane Maria

Forecast 6 day rainfall via WindyTV for Hurricane Maria

 

10 09, 2017

Hurricane Irma making landfall over Florida Keys!

Issued 9:30pm Sunday, September 10th. Hurricane Irma is now making landfall over the Florida Keys as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with winds to 130mph! Above image – rainbow satellite via RAAMB / CIRA


Hurricane Irma to start Sunday (AEST) was situated over the North Coast of Cuba as a Category 3 system after being downgraded due to the system interacting with land for a considerable amount of time. Irma then re-entered the extremely warm waters (30-33ºc) between the Florida Keys and Cuba which allowed her to re-intensify into a Category 4 system. Irma through this process is now making landfall over the Florida Keys as Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 130mph (210km/h) and much higher wind gusts. She is also posing a LIFE THREATENING storm surge threat across the Florida Keys. Catastrophic, life threatening damage is highly likely across the region.

 

National Hurricane Center warning as of 5AM US EDT, Sunday September 10th

National Hurricane Center warning as of 5AM US EDT, Sunday September 10th

 

After making landfall over Florida Keys, the system is expected to then continue North-West towards the Florida Coast. Irma is expected to officially make landfall between Tampa Bay and Sarasota at this stage, as a low end Category 3 system or high end Category 2 system. Her final strength will be heavily dependant on how much she interacts with the Coastline as she will weaken the entire time she moves up the Coast due to land interaction. A LIFE THREATENING storm surge of 3-5m above ground level is expected over South-West Florida (and through the Florida Keys) along with the entire Florida West Coast due to Irma. This coupled with the winds will make for a very violent Sunday (local time) and early Monday. Thankfully the main winds won’t extend far from the core of the system – limiting the high end damage to Coastal and near-Coastal areas.

National Hurricane Center Storm Surge warning area

National Hurricane Center Storm Surge warning area

 

 

Its best not to forget either, that there is a Tornado Watch in effect for Eastern Florida as Supercell’s in the bands associated with Irma impact the region producing hurricane-spawned tornadoes. There have already been several reported over the last 36hrs and this will likely continue ahead of the system all the way up into South Carolina over the next 48hrs.

Tornado Watch issued via the Storm Prediction Center for Southern Florida

Tornado Watch issued via the Storm Prediction Center for Southern Florida

 

9 09, 2017

Leeward Antilles on High Alert for Second Major Hurricane

Issued 10am AEST Saturday, September 9th 2017. After copping a direct hit from Irma, the Leeward Antilles are forecast to receive a second hit from a Category 4+ system in less than a week, with Jose closing in fast on the region. Above image via RAAMB / CIRA

Only a matter of days ago, Major Hurricane Irma (Category 5 at the time) directly hit the Leeward Antilles as her first official landfall area. Irma caused catastrophic and deadly destruction across the region, where the Prime Minister stated that Barbuda had 90% of its buildings completely destroyed and the other 10% were unliveable, along with that… 100% of communications were downed. Irma then went on to completely destroy 85% or more of St Martin / St Maarten’s to the point where access to the region is near impossible.

Now, these same islands are under another hurricane warning as Jose nears them. Jose was upgraded overnight Friday into Saturday (AEST) to a high end and very dangerous Category 4 system with sustained winds to 150mph (this is only 7mph shy of Category 5 strength). The system is expected to narrowly miss a direct landfall over the islands, however this means very little as the very destructive wind gusts are still expected to impact the region causing further damage. On top of the winds, another round of dangerous storm surges are likely which will once again flood coastal regions. 

National Hurricane Center warning and forecast track (valid 8pm Friday night local time).

National Hurricane Center warning and forecast track (valid 8pm Friday night local time).

 

Jose is then expected to move North-Westwards away from the Islands into the middle of the Atlantic where he will sit for a considerable amount of time, impacting nobody. Long range models suggest Jose could be very long lived, but that will be something to watch down the track.. not now. The question that needs asking… do these islands even know he’s coming?

 

Forecast model ensemble for Jose via Tropicaltidbits

Forecast model ensemble for Jose via Tropicaltidbits

 

8 09, 2017

Deadly Hurricane Irma heads for Bahamas, Cuba & Florida!

Issued 1pm Friday, September 8th 2017 AEST. Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas are all bracing for severe impacts from Category 5 Hurricane Irma over the next 72hrs as the system barrels through the Caribbean causing immense destruction. Above image via RAAMB / CIRA


Over the past few days, the horror story of Irma has become a reality as she carves a catastrophic path of destruction through the Caribbean en route for South-East U.S.A. Irma originally made landfall as a Category 5 monster at the island of Barbuda where become the equal strongest Atlantic hurricane to make landfall (tying the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane at 185mph / 300km/h winds). Reinforced steel communication towers were bent to the ground like something out of hollywood, with the prime minister stating 90% of the island was completely destroyed and the remaining 10% was severely damaged. He stated the island was now just rubble. Irma then tracked over Saint Martin / St Maarten and Anguilla where its believed at least 85% of those islands are completely levelled also… and as of midday Friday AEST, the system is currently directly impacting the Turk and Caicos islands were its believed immense destruction is likely! So far at least 10 fatalities have been confirmed!

Forecast Track Map for Irma via the National Hurricane Center as of 1pm Friday, September 8th AEST

Forecast Track Map for Irma via the National Hurricane Center as of 1pm Friday, September 8th AEST

 

 

Irma is expected to maintain a WNW track for the next 36-48hrs moving through the Bahamas and Cuba. A dangerous storm surge is likely to impact coastal parts of several islands including Northern Cuba during this time, along with hurricane force winds for Cuba also leading to widespread damage. Models have come into much more agreement now that late Saturday, due to a breakdown in a ridging pattern over the Eastern USA, Irma is likely to track more towards the North from North of Cuba and head towards Miami, Florida as a Category 5 or high end Category 4 system. During Sunday, Irma is expected to make landfall over Florida. Very destructive winds, heavy rain with flash flooding and a strong to dangerous storm surge are all likely for Southern and South-Eastern Florida during landfall.

Irma is then expected over the 36hrs post-landfall to continue North, impacting the ENTIRETY of Florida as well as large parts of Georgia and surrounding States. Destructive to very destructive winds are expected to occur over much of Florida, with the East Coast likely to experience storm surges. Across Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, there is an increased risk of hurricane-spawned tornadoes ahead of Irma’s arrival also.

The Bahamas, Northern Cuba and in the latest update… Southern Florida, are all under a Hurricane Warning with parts of Central Florida under a Hurricane Watch which will likely extend further up the Coast into Georgia and South Carolina over the next 24hrs.

Forecast 6-day rainfall via WindyTV showing up to 500mm over Southern Florida (purple) and widespread 250mm+ (pink)

Forecast 6-day rainfall via WindyTV showing up to 500mm over Southern Florida (purple) and widespread 250mm+ (pink)

 

5 09, 2017

Category 5 Hurricane Irma heading for Caribbean / U.S

Issued Tuesday night, September 5th 2017. Hurricane Irma has rapidly intensified in the past 6 hours into a Category 5 monster, making it the strongest Atlantic system in more than a decade and it has many places on high alert! Above image – Satellite imagery via NOAA


Irma developed into a Tropical Storm more than a week ago off the Coast of Africa. Since then, Irma has undergone fluctuations of rapid intensified and steadying periods as its tracked at a constant pace and direction towards the West and towards the Bahamas / Antilles Islands. The fluctuations in intensity have been due to water temperatures being only marginally favourable, whilst atmospheric conditions have been exceptionally ideal, its been a matter of which one takes the reins at any given point in time.

Forecast track map via the National Hurricane Center as of Tuesday night AEST

Forecast track map via the National Hurricane Center as of Tuesday night AEST

 

 

Right now, Irma is East of the Leeward Antilles with a landfall expected over the next 24hrs across the Northern Islands of the Leeward Antilles and then a near impact or direct impact over Puerto Rico – most likely as a Category 5. Models have been fluctuating in tracks due to so much uncertainty with ridging patterns, however at this stage Irma is expected to track North of the Dominican Republic and through the Bahamas towards Cuba. Its at this point that a breakdown in the ridge over the Atlantic is expected, and this will cause Irma to rapidly change direction towards the North leading to 1 of 4 scenarios…. 1. She turns North of misses the United States. 2. She turns North and moves East of Florida, with a landfall over the Carolina’s. 3. A direct landfall over Florida with catastrophic impacts. 4. Moves West of Florida into the Gulf and makes landfall over the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Regardless… Florida WILL be impacted to a degree – whether its storm force winds or major hurricane force winds, some sort of impact is likely. 

More than 250mm is also expected to fall over the path of Irma leading to widespread flash flooding. Isolated falls of more than 400-500mm are also possible, but once again these will be highly dependant on the track. 

Despite all the uncertainty, one thing is for sure… Irma is one very nasty and very dangerous system, and Irma will strike someone – there are too many islands and too much scattered land for nobody to be impact. Our thoughts go out to those in Irma’s path.

Forecast 10 day rainfall via WindyTV for Irma. Purple is over 500mm, pink over 250mm, orange / pink over 100mm.

Forecast 10 day rainfall via WindyTV for Irma. Purple is over 500mm, pink over 250mm, orange / pink over 100mm.

 

3 09, 2017

Snowstorm for the Alps, possible Snow in Canberra

Issued Sunday, September 3rd 2017. A surface trough / cold front moving through on Sunday is expected to give NSW its best snowfall for 2017 as it makes room for a vigorous Antarctic blast. Above image – Temperatures at 1500M ASL, with the area most favourable for snow in NSW circled in red via BSCH

On Sunday morning, a trough / cold front combination is situated over Southern Inland NSW stretching into North-Western NSW / South-Western QLD. This system has already produced strong winds over Western NSW and this is likely to continue for all areas, along with constant damaging gusts of 90-130km/h over the Alps over the next 4 days. The trough is also expected to generate some thunderstorms for Northern NSW. Behind the front however, a vigorous pool of Antarctic air is expected to be dragged up, covering the region and mixing with good moisture content to produce very heavy snowfall and blizzards.

Forecast wind gusts for NSW on Monday night. Pink is over 60km/h, aqua is over 90km/h and purple is up to 125km/h

Forecast wind gusts for NSW on Monday night. Pink is over 60km/h, aqua is over 90km/h and purple is up to 125km/h

 


The cold air is expected to arrive late on Sunday lasting until sometime on Wednesday (most likely during the afternoon / evening), with the coldest air arriving later on Monday and lasting until Tuesday evening. During the peak of the event, snow is likely to fall to as low as 500m in Southern NSW and 900m across the Central Tablelands / Blue Mountains. Falls of more than 100cm are likely over the NSW Snowy Mountains, with totals of as much as 140cm possible. The majority of this will fall over Monday and Tuesday where 48hr totals of 70-100cm are expected!

For those wondering if it will snow in Canberra.. its possible. Elevated parts of the ACT should see snow, but Canberra itself may come under the influence of a rain shadow caused by the Brindabella Ranges. A rain shadow is when the Ranges block the moisture, causing an area of dryness on the opposite side of the Range (in this case over Canberra). So while temperatures may be ideal, and elevation is spot on, a lack of moisture may occur and thats why its only “possible” and not likely.

Forecast 6 day snowfall via WindyTV, yellow is over 50cm, red over 100cm.

Forecast 6 day snowfall via WindyTV, yellow is over 50cm, red over 100cm.

 

 

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