Temperatures in Sydney have reached 14C degrees above the October average on Friday, hitting 36C degrees in the city, the hottest day since March, while residents in Tasmania and Victoria were hitwith high winds.
Temperatures in Penrith in Sydney’s west also hit 36C on Friday, 10C above the October average.
It was set to be the hottest day in Sydney since March 6, and BOM NSW forecaster Helen Kirkup said strong north-westerly winds would keep the cooling sea breeze away from the city and coastal areas until later on Friday.
“Those north-westerly winds will continue all day and that will keep the temperatures up right across Sydney,” she said.
“But Bondi has a top of 33C, which means they should see a north-easterly later this afternoon.”
Total fire bans are in place for the far south coast, central ranges, greater Hunter and in the state’s north-west. There is very high fire danger across much of NSW, including Sydney.
NSW Royal Fire Service inspector Ben Shepherd said this fire season was particularly bad with more than 500,000 hectares burned throughout the state.
He said this was already double the 200,000 hectares burned throughout the last two fire seasons combined, with two lives lost and more than 100 homes destroyed.
“We need people to take note that this is no ordinary fire season,” he said. “Without any significant rainfall on the forecast, there is the real potential for this to be very long, protracted and dangerous.”
Damaging winds in Victoria
Winds up to 120km/h were set to rip through parts of Victoria after a sleepless night for many residents as temperatures soared.
Northerly winds up to 100km/h were expected to strike across Kyneton, Ballarat, Melbourne, Wonthaggi, Falls Creek and Bacchus Marsh with alpine areas to get gusts up to 120km/h, the weather bureau warned on Friday.
It comes after Melbourne hit its maximum temperature of 27C overnight with winds bringing a mixture of cloud and dust to blanket the capital city, as the heat dips off.
The blanket of cloud hanging over the city is expected to break later in the day.
“It is a bit of a mixed bag. Spring is often very changeable. We do often see these early morning changes in spring. But certainly a very warm night,” senior meteorologist Michael Efron said.
He flagged the dust was being picked up from NSW and South Australia where “it has been so dry for so long, so those northerly winds just bring that south to Victoria”.
A severe fire danger warning has been issued for the Mallee.
There’s also scope for thunderstorms and rain across parts of the state before a wintry weekend and possible snow on the mountains.
Bushfire threat eases in Tasmania
Rain has eased the bushfire threat to communities in Tasmania’s Central Highlands, as authorities urge residents to be vigilant when burning vegetation.
Wild winds whipped up the blaze near the small town of Miena on Friday morning but the risk posed by the fire was downgraded in the early afternoon to advice level.
The blaze, which continues to burn in isolated bushland, has destroyed 170 hectares.
It was sparked earlier this week by a private registered burn that got out of control.
“People need to be vigilant if they’re landowners,” Tasmania Fire Service regional controller Barry Bones told reporters.
“If they going to do a burn, they need to make sure they’re properly resourced.
“Land owners are trying to do the right thing but they’re not aware of how dry the vegetation is.”
The TFS had warned shack owners and campers near Poatina Road, Flintstone, Barren Tier and Miena to consider leaving if they weren’t prepared for a bushfire.
Firefighters are battling the blaze but water-bombing aircraft have been grounded due to high winds.
A massive wildfire last summer destroyed a home at Miena and forced the evacuation of the small shack community.
Wind gusts of more than 110km/h were recorded in Tasmania on Friday, with a severe wind warning in place for half the state.
A cool front is expected to cross the island in the afternoon and drop temperatures to the mid-teens.