Global models are painting an ugly picture for Southern Inland and Central Inland QLD for Sunday as a dry low pressure systems and trough produce damaging winds, an increased dust storm threat and extreme fire danger across both areas. Above image via Windy showing Wind Gusts and a red circled area of highest fire danger potential. 

 

During Sunday, a low pressure system is forecast by all global models to move across South West QLD during the morning, entering Interior parts of South East QLD (i.e the Darling Downs) later in the day. This system is expected to be linked to a trough and the combination is expected to produce widespread strong to damaging winds across the Warrego & Maranoa, Central West, Central Highlands, Darling Downs, Granite Belt, South West & South East Coast. These strong to damaging winds are expected to kick up a lot of loose dust across the region, especially through areas that haven’t received any rain recently, and this is likely going to result in an increased risk of raised dust and a potential dust storm across Southern Inland and Central Inland QLD (areas West of the Ranges) with the continuous winds potentially pushing it all the way to the Coast (although it would likely just be raised hazy dust by then and not a full blown dust storm).

Dust Potential for Sunday evening via Windy

 

 

The very worrying concern is the combination of strong to damaging winds, very dry conditions (models indicating humidity at less than 10% for some areas and hot temperatures (maximums between 37 and 41ºc) across the Darling Downs, Warrego & Maranoa, South West, Central West, Central Highlands. This combination is highly likely to produce widespread severe fire dangers and pockets of extreme fire danger potential across the aforementioned areas. This setup is linked almost identically (in terms of winds, temperatures, pressure, low positioning and trough position) to one back in October 2002 which produced catastrophic fires across the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley – most notably around Toowoomba. While we obviously hope this doesn’t eventuate again and aren’t guaranteeing it to happen again, people in the risk areas need to at least be mindful of the threat.

Forecast Wind Gusts Sunday afternoon via GFS / BSCH. Winds are in knots.