January 23, 2020 05:30:57
NSW is set for a day of wild weather with scorching temperatures, dust storms, damaging winds and the risk of bushfires reigniting after a week of rain.
- A total fire ban has been issued across six regions in NSW
- Lightning storms could rekindle bushfires extinguished by last week’s rain
- The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said damaging winds could lash the state’s south
The mercury is expected to reach 41 degrees Celsius in Sydney and Penrith and while it will be slightly cooler in the east, Bondi is still forecast to reach 39C.
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has also issued a poor air quality forecast for Sydney today.
To the state’s west, dust storms were also moving east after it darkened the skies above the southern states and turned the horizon orange.
While the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is forecasting a 12C drop in some areas for Friday, firefighters were bracing for another “challenging” day.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has issued “severe” fire dangers and a total fire ban across six regions.
These regions are the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Southern and Central Ranges, and North Western.
RFS spokesman Greg Allen said the rain had been welcomed, but more than 60 fires were, as of yesterday, still burning across the state.
“Certainly some rain has helped in strengthening containment lines over the last couple of days,” he said.
“We have seen rainfall across fire grounds but in some cases, not the entirety of [the] ground and not enough rain to put the fire out completely.”
BOM forecast Abrar Shabren said there was a potential for lightning storms and strong winds to rekindle fires extinguished by last week’s downpour.
“If dry thunderstorms do develop over forests or fire grounds that can be problematic for firefighters on the ground,” he said.
“They can cause new ignitions and old fires can get flared up as well with those very gusty, strong winds.”
Mr Shabren also said the state’s South Coast and south-east could also be hit by “very, very strong and damaging winds” which began last night and could persist this morning.
Those gusts were sweeping the east of Riverina, the Snowy Mountains, the NSW South Coast and parts of the southwest slopes.
The BOM said the dust storms which blanketed Broken Hill, in the state’s far-west on Wednesday, would be stopped by the mountains in the Central Ranges.
Contact Kevin Nguyen
stories from New South Wales