Author Topic: Victoria bushfires 7 February 2009, record heatwave for SA, VIC, TAS and NSW 27 Jan to 8 Feb 2009  (Read 68885 times)

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Offline Antonio (stormboy)

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Offline Brad Hannon

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Simply the most intense weather I've experienced here right now. 46C and roaring HOT wind from the W, having changed from N'lies earlier.  Major fires to Melb's N and E now.  The Wandong/Kilmore fire is due north of me (northern suburbs) and here is a pic from my front doorstep of the pyrocumulus which I must say is as impressive as most convection we get down here! Am taking timelapse of the boiling smoke :)



hmmm June 2nd......

Offline Colin Maitland

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Just thought it was interesting and maybe at this stage a rare occassion that all states in Australia exc. TAS had 40+C.
I just took 2 random examples from each state for interest sake. These are not the states hottest.

QLD    Thargomindah Airport            41.1    @      3.00pm
         Ballera GAs Fields                 41.5    @      2.00pm

NSW   Albury Airport                      44.7    @      4.07pm
         Wilcannia Aerodrome             45.1    @      3.18pm

VIC    Hopetoun Airport                  47.8    @      4.30pm
        Melbourne Regional                45.9    @      4.30pm

WA   Carnegie                              40.5    @       12.00pm
       Warburton Airfield                  41.4    @         2.00pm

SA   Marree                                 46.1    @        3.00pm
      Renmark Airport                      47      @         2.30pm

NT   Curtain Springs                      41.0    @        3.00pm
      Yulara Aero                           41.5    @        2.30pm


And TAS region
      Flinders Island Airport             37.1    @         4.30pm
      Hogan Island                         33.7   @          4.07pm

Some of the areas all border close together but not very often you have every state with an 40+.

 

Offline Michael Bath

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Nice MODIS image this afternoon. This one at 3.50pm local time showing some bushfires and pyrocumulus.



Image source: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/index.php?subset=Australia6.2009038.aqua.1km

Lots of hot air on this morning's Melbourne sounding, however I would say this is before the peak in the airmass given Melbourne got to 46.4 at 3.04pm.

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Offline Michael Bath

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Location: Mcleans Ridges, NSW Northern Rivers
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Paul Graham

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Here's a short movie of a spot fire in the Yarra Valley this afternoon: Spot fire, Yarra Valley  These spot fires were the result of embers from a severe fire at Kinglake.
More to come...

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Offline Richary

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Sounding very nasty down in Vic at the moment, listening to ABC Melbourne on the radio. 14 confirmed dead with up to 40 suspected.

Flew back from Perth today where there was a cold strong southerly last night, back to Rydalmere it was 32 degrees at 7pm but a lot hotter inside the house. Had averything open to cool the place down.

Hope everything calms down in Vic very quickly. I was there in Jan 1997 during the Snowy Mountains fires staying on Mornington Peninsula and that was nasty enough.


Offline Colin Maitland

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I was just watching the news this morning, they say up to 25 people have been confirmed  killed and possible figure of 40 have died, as of today at 9.26am QLD time.

The Brisbane Courier Mail had the figure at a possible fifty people killed plus more to come. I hope they are wrong. 1 death is bad enough, 25 is tragic, I hope there is no more.

Everyone affected by the fires, I hope you all stay alert and safe,  I just wished the rain from QLD  would come down and drench the situation, but that does not look likely for some days.




A tragic event.

I have posted an article from ninemsn, as history of the event, to keep a record for readers.
The death toll from the Victorian bushfires has risen to 25, police said on Sunday.

"I can confirm that we now have 25 people dead at this point in time," Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said.

Mr Walshe told reporters late Saturday that 14 people had been confirmed dead, with fears that the toll could rise above 40.

"Our concern is still... that we believe numbers will rise as we get further into the fire zones this morning," Mr Walshe told the Nine Network on Sunday morning.

"We expect the number will climb considerably as the day passes on," Mr Walshe told ABC Radio.

"The community needs to be prepared for worse news to come at this point in time.

Most of the bodies were discovered in towns northeast of Melbourne - six at Kinglake, six at Kinglake West, four at Wandong and St Andrews, three at Humevale, and one each in Arthurs Creek and Bendigo.

At least six bodies were found in the one car at Kinglake, with reports that others may have been trying to escape the fire in cars.

Children are believed to be among the dead. But police have so far been unable to confirm the gender or ages of the victims.

Mr Walshe said he feared the death toll would be much higher.

"At this stage, to have 25 confirmed deceased, that gives me great concern that the numbers are going to get substantially higher as the day goes on, as we're able to get into the fire zones behind the fires to do those searches," he said.

He said earlier that police would undertake a more thorough search of burnt-out properties on Sunday with the fire in the area under control and cooler conditions.

Police spokesman Senior Constable Wayne Wilson said the clarification on a final death toll would take time.

"We've got to go through these places in the daylight, where we can search them properly," he told ABC Radio.

"These sort of situations it does take time for clarification to come through... particularly when you are dealing with death.

"We do it as quickly as we can but we've got to do it in a methodical and accurate way."

Meanwhile, 18 people have been admitted to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital with burns and three are in a critical condition.

Seven of the injured have burns to more than 30 per cent of their bodies.

Jim Scott, a resident of Kinglake for 22 years, said the loss of life was devastating.

"This horrific wind came through and just took the roof off our house, our shed," he told the Nine Network.

"I've never seen anything like it, it was horrific.

"This is devastating, the loss of life."

Sue Aldred, another resident of the Kinglake area, said she lost a couple of sheds on the family property, but saved their house.

"All of a sudden we were in a raging inferno, there was coloured smoke and the noise was indescribable," she told the Nine Network.
"It was terrifying.

"I did fear for my life at one point, there was a horrible moment of indecision where I just thought... I'm going to stay here and beat this flame back, and where do I hide?... which building do I hide in?

"It was horrible."
Raylene Kincaide, a resident of Narbethong, northeast of Melbourne, said her home had been destroyed and there was little left of the town.

"Everyone we know has lost everything they had - it's not nice," she told ABC Radio.

"I've been in Ash Wednesday but this is probably worse."
Meanwhile, police have reiterated their warning that the death toll from the Victorian bushfires will climb.

Victoria Police Deputy Chief Commissioner Kieran Walshe told ABC Radio it may well be discovered that many more people have died after they became trapped in their burning homes or cars.

"We are only getting into these fire zones now," Mr Walshe said.

"It has taken some time before the fire zones are safe so that we can get police and emergency services personnel into these areas now behind the fires and start to look at abandoned vehicles, look at destroyed properties, at buildings and undertake the searches to see what we can find there.

"We expect the number will climb considerably as the day passes on.

"The community needs to be prepared for worse news to come at this point in time.

"We have real concerns about some of the areas we haven't been able to get into yet. We know there are a lot of properties in those areas and we can expect that we are going to find some deceased people there."

Mr Walshe said police believed some of the fires were deliberately lit, but would not say which ones.

Quoting from Big Petes thread Away fro storms- now for fires
Big Pete in his thread in Jan 13/14 stated



{All concerned;

Fire weather warnings have been issued for SA and VIC for tomorrow and Wednesday 13 & 14th respectively.

Temps in both states are expected to reach well over 40deg C each day.

I know that where I live 40C and 41C are forecasted for the two days.

Seems as if from the cooler Dec and early Jan - we just get roasted into fire season.

Big Pete(end qoute}}




The fires delayed in coming, but he was right. They came with a vengeance.









« Last Edit: 09 February 2009, 05:25:50 AM by Jimmy Deguara »

Offline dann weatherhead

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My goodness. A terrible situation. Some of the footage is just jaw dropping - seeing the fire behaviour of the fronts just moving with the wind.

The ABC has some very good coverage http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/bushfires/

Looking at the forecasts for today, the winds don't seem to be nearly as strong from the NW - and look like they will stay NE through the eastern parts. Obviously the NE'ster will still be troublesome (Sydney AP reported 37knot seabreeze yesterday!) but preferable to the gusty dry NW'er.
« Last Edit: 09 February 2009, 05:26:54 AM by Jimmy Deguara »

Offline Harley Pearman

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Review of exceptional hot conditions across Southern New South Wales and Victoria 7/2/2009

The death toll from the Victorian fires has risen to 26 including:-

- 100,000 hectares burnt as I write this.
- The towns of Marysville and Kinglake hit very hard (Source The Age 8/2/2009).
- The cool change has yet to penetrate far North East Victoria with Albury Wodonga hitting 39.6C at 11.30 am 8/2/2009.

Besides Melbourne breaking its maximum temperature records of 46.4C, some unique weather phenomena was experienced including:-

a) - Avalon scoring 47.9C.

b) - At Albury Airport, the temperature peaked at 44.8C but is was still 40C at 9 pm. The overnight minimum for 8/2/2009 fell to 29.2C at 6 am and as before mentioned, rose to 39.6C by 11.30 am. The cool change is still yet to arrive here.

c) - At Wangaratta, the maximum temperature peaked at 45.5C at 3 pm but it was still 40C at 9 pm.

d) - At Mildura (Mallee Region), 40C was reached by 10 am and 46.1C by 3 pm. The temperature only started dropping after 7.44 pm when the cool change arrived.

e) - Deniliquin (SW New South Wales), the maximum temperature peaked at 45.6C by 1 pm but it was still 41C at 9 pm.

f) - Wagga Wagga (South West slopes of New South Wales). The coolest part of the day was at 1.30 am at 27.3C. It had reached 30C at 8 am and the temperature peaked at 43.2C at 2.32 pm.

(Sourced from Bureau of Meteorology individual weather station sites and data bases for 7/2/2009).

It is now significantly cooler in much of Victoria behind the change except for the far North East portion although there is a bushfire crises in some areas.

Taken from the 3 pm Bureau of Meteorology Weather Bulletins, some places across Victoria suffered exceptional heat including:-

Mallee Region

Hopetoun - 48C
Mildura and Ouyen - 47C (Raised dust was observed at Mildura)

Wimmera Region

Horsham - 47C
Stawell - 45C

Western District

Ararat - 45C (Smoke was observed)
Ballarat AWS - 44C (Very unusual for Ballarat given that the city is elevated somewhat).
Mortlake AWS - 46C

Northern Country:

Bendigo - 45C
Echuca - 47C (Dust was observed)
Kerang - 47C (A dust storm was observed)
Yarrawonga - 46C

North east

Beechworth - 44C (Beechworth is also elevated and smoke was observed)
Benalla - 46C
Corryong - 43C (Dust was observed)
Mt Buller - 30C. (Consider that Mt Buller rises as high as 1,805 metres, this is exceptional)
 
North Central

Eildon - 41C
Mangalore AWS 46C (Dust was observed)

West Gippsland

Bairnsdale Airport AWS - 45C
Latrobe Valley AWS - 46C (Haze was observed)
East Sale - 44C

East Gippsland

Lakes Entrance - 45C
Orbost - 46C
Point Hicks - 39C

All areas of the state were hot. I have focused on regions outside Melbourne in this post to provide a comparison on what happened across the state of Victoria in general.

A full list of the 3 pm Bulletin for Saturday 7 February is found at:-

http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDV60028.html

Harley Pearman
« Last Edit: 09 February 2009, 10:57:56 AM by Michael Bath »

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It's distressing to read about those poor people who have perished, some it is reported were believed to be trying to escape in their vehicles.  It's sad to hear about the devastation, particularly in Marysville as I've been there many times.  It's hard to imagine that most of the town has been destroyed.  It was such a tranquil village nestled in Yarra Ranges beneath the cross country ski area of Lake Mountain.  I hope very much that whatever remains can be salvaged and the town will be rebuilt.  

In regards to the nature of the fires, it seemed to me that the pyro-cb from the Kinglake fire was stationary for a long time.  I think this is also evident from the radar loops.  It was as though this pyro thunderstorm had become anchored in the flow and was sustaining itself.  

Offline Colin Maitland

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This is the latest at 1.56 pm from an article on bigpond news,

I thought I would post it direct just to keep a record for people who may read the devastating the fires in Vic and now NSW. So for historical record this is the horrifying story.
 


 Quote
The death toll from the Victorian bushfires has risen to 35, and eight people are in a critical condition in hospital with burns injuries.

The eight, who have burns to at least 30 per cent of their body, are in Melbourne's The Alfred hospital.

Another 10 people are in a 'very stable' condition at the hospital, the spokesman said.

He said the hospital was expecting more patients would be brought in.

At least 100 homes were destroyed as nine major blazes burnt out of control across the state.

More than 3,000 firefighters and many more residents worked to contain fires in all corners of the state, including major fronts at Horsham, Coleraine, Weerite, Kilmore East, Bunyip, Churchill, Dargo, Murrindindi and Redesdale.

Most of the bodies were discovered in towns northeast of Melbourne - six at Kinglake, six at Kinglake West, four at Wandong and St Andrews, three at Humevale, and one each in Arthurs Creek and Bendigo.

At least six bodies were found in the one car at Kinglake, with reports that others may have been trying to escape the fire in cars.

Children are believed to be among the dead. But police have so far been unable to confirm the gender or ages of the victims.

Police spokesman Senior Constable Wayne Wilson said the clarification on a final death toll would take time.

Across Australia emergency services workers were out in full force as fires on Saturday also threatened homes in NSW and South Australia, while flash floods wreaked havoc in north Queensland.

In NSW a 31-year-old man was being questioned over a fire police believe was deliberately lit near Peats Ridge, on the Central Coast, which burnt through 120 hectares of land through the Brisbane Water National Park.

About 250 firefighters battled the blaze with five aircraft and more than 20 fire tankers.

At 9pm (AEDT) on Saturday, a Rural Fire Service spokesman told AAP the threat to nearby properties had eased.

'Fire fighters will remain on the ground all night to try to establish some containment lines that will hold in anticipation of (Sunday's) weather,' he said.

Fire fighters would remain in the area until cooler weather came through, which was expected on Monday.

South of Sydney, several fires burning in the Bega Valley on Saturday night threatened people in the villages of Towamba, Burragate and Wyndham, and villagers were warned by the RFS to prepare for severe fire weather on Sunday.

At Wollemi National Park, in the Singleton area, north of Sydney, the RFS anticipated fires would burn through 2,000 hectares of countryside by Sunday morning.

In South Australia a fire that burnt through 108 hectares at Gawler River, north of Adelaide, was a major concern throughout Saturday.

A spokeswoman from South Australia's Country Fire Service said about 155 fire fighters, assisted by four fixed-wing waterbombing aircraft and helicopters, helped contain the fire.

She said crews would keep mopping up the fire overnight.

Offline Harley Pearman

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Review of New South Wales Weather conditions for 7/2/2009

The cool change has now reached Albury / Wodonga but the maximum temperature did reach 40C at 12 noon and the cool change is now starting to take effect here. This results in the area experiencing 14 days in a row with temperatures at or over 37C and this should be the highest maximum temperature for Victoria for 8/2/2009.

Currently as I write this, it is 35C at Blacktown and 36.3C at Penrith. Over the past 3 days, maximum temperatures have reached 38.6C on 5/2/09, 39.2C on 6/2/09 and 41.9C on 7/2/09 where I live.

At Richmond, the maximum temperature has reached 40C on all 3 days stated.

The cooler SE change is now making its way north along the New South Wales South Coast and is currently north of Bega and will shortly arrive at Merimbula.

On 7/2/2009, some exceptionally high temperatures were recorded across large swathes of New South especially across the Upper and Lower Western, Riverina, South West Slopes and to a lesser extent, Central West Slopes. North West Slopes and western Sydney particularly around Richmond, Penrith, Campbelltown, Blacktown and Parramatta.

All temperatures quoted are taken from Bureau of Meteorology Daily Weather Bulletin - New South Wales for 7/2/2009 and the hottest locations include:-

Upper and Lower Western:

Balranald - 45C (Dust was observed)
Broken Hill - 44C
Ivanhoe - 46C
Pooncarie - 47C
Wilcannia - 44C
Tibooburra - 42C

North West Slopes

Barraba, Tamworth and Walgett were the hottest localities on 39C.

Central West Slopes

Condobolin and West Wyalong - 42C
Cowra and Forbes - 41C

Riverina

Deniliquin - 47C (Dust was observed)
Tocumwal - 46C
Corowa, Griffith, Hay and Narrandera all on 45C (A dust storm was observed at Hay and dust was observed at Narrandera)
Maximum 3 pm temperatures of 44C were common across the Riverina.

The Riverina and far South West New South Wales suffered the most from the exceptional conditions of 7/2/2009.

South West Slopes

Gundagai - 44C
Temora - 43C
Quandialla 42C

There were some reasonable highs on the South Coast in areas away from the sea breezes such as Bega - 41C but places right on the coast were allot cooler ie Ulladulla - 27C.

Temperatures in the Hunter Valley varied from 29C at Nelson Bay to 41C Jerrys Plains and Cessnock.

Generally, areas outside the Riverina, South West Slopes and South West New South were less affected by the exceptional conditions.

Other note worthy facts are the minimums at some locations in affected areas including:-

Broken Hill - Minimum of 30C and a maximum of 44C.
Fowlers Gap AWS - Minimum of 32C and a maximum of 43C.
Ivanhoe - Minimum of 30C and a maximum of 46C.
Tibooburra - Minimum of 31C and a maximum of 42C.
White Cliffs - Minimum of 32C and a maximum of 44C.
Condobolin - Minimum 31C and a maximum of 42C.
Hay - Minimum of 29C and a maximum of 45C.

Are other standout features for this day.

Capital Cities

The hottest capital cities for 7/2/2009 were Melbourne on 46C (Minimum 19C), Adelaide 41C (Minimum 26C) (Before the cooler change) and Canberra 40C (Minimum 20C). The maximum temperature for Melbourne broke the record that was set here on 13/1/1939 when it reached 45.6C on that day.

Sydney:

Much of the western areas scored over 40C such as Bankstown (40C), Badgerys Creek (41C), Horsley Park (41C), Parramatta (41C), Penrith (42C) and Richmond (41C). Observatory Hill was the coolest on 32C.

A full list can be found at:-

http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDN60028.html

Finally, with the cool change moving north along the coast and across the inland, the end of the heatwave is near.

Harley Pearman
« Last Edit: 09 February 2009, 11:00:18 AM by Michael Bath »

Offline Colin Maitland

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Downloaded the SAT synoptic showing the severe weather pattern causing the treacherous conditions down south and heavy flooding up north.
The synop shows that a trough over central Australia is pushing hot, dry air into the southeast leading to severe fire danger and record braking temperatures.