Saturday 27 SEP 2003

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2003

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Fire and snow as heatwave concludes
Hottest September day recorded

Maximum (above) and minimum (below) temperature departures from normal today. BoM

Colder air pushed north across NSW today, gradually edging out heatwave conditions that have dominated most of the past week. Parts of VIC and NSW had the unusual experience of snow falling on in bushfire areas. Daytime temperatures were still in the thirties across NE NSW and much of QLD, while northern and western QLD experienced another hot night, the temperature at Winton only falling to 26.9, 13.8 above average.

Strong winds continued to give firefighters problems in NSW, and freshened during the early afternoon as a weak trough passed through giving brief snow on the NSW Blue Mountains where a fire near Scenicworld at Katoomba was gradually being contained today. Snow flurries were also reported from Portland, Lithgow, Clarence and Oberon.

64 fires continued to burn in NSW, the most serious just south of Kempsey which forced the removal of 70 people and threatened 100 homes. Another fire broke out at nearby Crescent Head around 4.30pm threatening 300 homes and causing evacuation of 90 people.

Nearly 30,000ha has been burnt out on the Northern Tablelands, where 80 people today were evacuated from Wytalaba, ESE of Glen Innes, as the Hewitts Peak fire, which has burnt over 4000ha, threatened the settlement. A house and four other buildings in Wytalaba were destroyed by the fire which was spotting up to 3km ahead of the main firefront. RFS Superintendent Matt Inwood, told the Glen Innes Examiner: "The extreme winds on Saturday pushed three existing fires, Oakwood, Hewitts Peak and London Bridge fires, into one massive fire front that we have named the Hewitts Peak complex. The winds pushed the fire into private property on the Grafton Road during Saturday and we threw 20 fire crews at the hot spot at Wytaliba solely on property protection. The winds were gusting from 70km up to 100km an hour, so any attempts to halt a fire front of that intensity would have been dangerous. Our fire investigators have said the intensity of this fire was off the scale, it was that intense it couldn't be measured. In fact, how those fire crews and residents in Wytaliba managed to keep the losses to one home and four other unoccupied dwellings and no loss of life is just amazing."

Other significant fires were burning to the east of Glen Innes and at Central Mangrove near Wyong. Steady, moderate snow fell overnight in the Snowy Mountains with 10cm reported at Kosiuszko Chalet and Perisher Valley and 5cm in Thredbo Village.

In VIC, the Princes Highway reopened although the fire that burnt through Club Terrace yesterday, and which as so far consumed 4,300ha, continued to cause problems with hotspots despite light rain and easing winds. Regional Fire Co-ordinator for the DSE, Peter Dowler, told the Age "It's interesting to note the fires we were fighting at Nowa Nowa yesterday are now under a blanket of snow". Only two of the 38 fires that raged in East Gippsland earlier in the week are now alight.

In TAS, the wind eased overnight, but snow fell down to at least the 700m level and Lake St Clair reported 10cm of level snow on the ground at 9am. Snow continued to fall across the Central Plateau during the day, and wintry hail was reported from coastal locations.

Two places in WA broke the national September record maximum temperature today. West Roebuck, 30km east of Broome, recorded a top of 43.1, eclipsing the prevous record of 42.8 set at Wave Hill PO on in 1933. Fitzroy Crossing Aero also broke the old record with a top of 42.9. Bidyadanga, 100km SW along the coast from Broome, had its hottest September day in 45 years of record with a top of 42.4.

On the other side of the continent, Nambour, north of Brisbane, set a new September high of 35.4, while Lord Howe Island broke the record it set yesterday with a top of 23.3 as the island experienced the heatwave air drifting from the continent over the Tasman.

Sources: ABC, Age, SMH, NSW RFS, News.com, Port Macquarie News, Lithgow Mercury, Glen Innes Examiner, Weatherzone contributors

National weather extremes for today

Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology

Records set this day (previous record and years of computerised record shown in brackets):
Highest daily maximum temperature for September:
Western Australia:
003030 BIDYADANGA 42.4 (42.1, 45)
Queensland:
040282 NAMBOUR DPI 35.4 (35.0, 38)
Islands:
200839 LORD HOWE ISLAND AERO 23.3 (23.1, 15) previous record set yesterday

Quality control note: Data is final. It includes late-received rainfall data and has been subject to BoM quality control checks.
Data is as received at 13:38EST, 03/03/2004.

Weather observations for today
Noteworthy  Weather         Capital  Cities         Regional  Cities       Alpine  Stations
Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Bulletins and Weather Notes

Hottest
Highest maximum temperature>Greatest variation above normal maximum Highest minimum temperatureGreatest variation above normal minimum

43.1 WEST ROEBUCK W Kimberley WA
42.9 FITZROY CROSSING AERO W Kimberley WA
42.4 BIDYADANGA W Kimberley WA
42.0 CADJEBUT W Kimberley WA
41.6 CURTIN AERO W Kimberley WA

+12.1   34.0 YAMBA PILOT STATION North Coast NSW
+11.5   33.3 COFFS HARBOUR MO MidNorth Coast N NSW
+10.7   35.4 NAMBOUR DPI Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
+9.9   32.7 COOLANGATTA AIRPORT Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
+9.8   32.0 ALSTONVILLE TROPICAL FRUIT RESEARCH STAT North Coast NSW

29.1 TOORAK RESEARCH STATION Gulf Country QLD
28.9 JULIA CREEK AIRPORT Gulf Country QLD
28.0 KIDMAN SPRINGS N Rivers NT
28.0 CLONCURRY AIRPORT Gulf Country QLD
28.0 NORTHERN ENDEAVOUR Islands ISL

+15.2   29.1 TOORAK RESEARCH STATION Gulf Country QLD
+13.8   26.9 WINTON POST OFFICE Northwest QLD
+11.4   25.7 MOUNT ISA AERO Gulf Country QLD
+10.1   23.0 URANDANGIE Northwest QLD
+9.7   23.5 RICHMOND POST OFFICE Upper Carpentaria QLD

Coldest
Lowest maximum temperatureGreatest variation below normal maximum Lowest minimum temperatureGreatest variation below normal minimum

-3.9 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
-2.0 MT BAW BAW W Gippsland VIC
-1.3 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC
-1.2 MOUNT WELLINGTON Southeast TAS
-1.0 MOUNT BULLER Upper NE VIC

-7.3   8.2 BOMBALA (THERRY STREET) Goulburn/Monaro NSW
-7.0   7.3 KATOOMBA (NARROW NECK RD) C Tablelands S NSW
-6.8   8.2 GEEVESTON (CEMETERY ROAD) Southeast TAS
-6.6   8.0 TARALGA POST OFFICE Goulburn/Monaro NSW
-6.6   10.0 YASS (LINTON HOSTEL) Goulburn/Monaro NSW
-6.6   9.6 GOULBURN (PROGRESS ST) Goulburn/Monaro NSW

-9.0 THREDBO VILLAGE Snowy Mtns NSW
-6.0 THREDBO AWS Snowy Mtns NSW
-6.0 MOUNT BULLER Upper NE VIC
-5.8 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
-5.7 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC

-9.4   -1.5 EYRE Eucla WA
-8.5   -9.0 THREDBO VILLAGE Snowy Mtns NSW
-7.2   2.3 POINT HICKS (LIGHTHOUSE) E Gippsland VIC
-5.5   0.5 HOBART AIRPORT Southeast TAS
-5.4   4.1 WINDY HARBOUR Lower West WA
-5.4   -6.0 MOUNT BULLER Upper NE VIC

Wettest Major City Extremes
Todays highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am. It includes the top 5 totals nationally followed by all reported falls of 50mm or more.

36.2 CRADLE MOUNTAIN AIRSTRIP Central Plateau TAS
26.8 WEEAPROINAH W Coast VIC
26.0 YARRAHAPPINI ALERT Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
26.0 WARRAMBINE CK @ WARRAMBINE Western Plains VIC
26.0 CRADLE VALLEY (WALDHEIM) Central Plateau TAS

  Max+/- norm Min+/- normRain to 9am
BROOME AIRPORT 41.1 +9.3 17.9 -0.5 0.0
PERTH AIRPORT 26.8 +6.7 10.7 +1.8 0.0
ALBANY AIRPORT 19.9 +2.6 6.4 -1.6 0.0
KALGOORLIE-BOULDER AIRPORT 28.3 +6.1 10.9 +3.0 0.0
DARWIN AIRPORT 32.6 +0.1 24.5 +1.4 0.0
ALICE SPRINGS AIRPORT 27.5 +0.5 17.1 +6.9 0.0
ADELAIDE (KENT TOWN) 14.9 -3.9 8.5 -1.1 6.2
MOUNT GAMBIER AERO 13.1 -2.7 4.6 -1.6 6.6
CAIRNS AERO 29.5 +1.6 17.5 -1.1 0.0
TOWNSVILLE AERO 29.0 +1.3 18.1 +0.8 0.0
ROCKHAMPTON AERO 33.5 +6.3 17.1 +3.6 0.0
AMBERLEY AMO 34.5 +9.2 14.9 +5.5 5.6
BRISBANE AERO 33.4 15.7 2.8
ARMIDALE AIRPORT AWS 19.4 9.0 0.0
COFFS HARBOUR MO 33.3 +11.5 10.6 -0.3 0.0
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS 22.3 +2.2 15.2 +3.9 0.0
SYDNEY (OBSERVATORY HILL) 18.0 -1.9 14.6 +3.6 0.0
PROSPECT DAM 17.3 -3.7 10.4 +1.1 0.0
WOLLONGONG UNIVERSITY 17.3 -2.9 11.6 +1.0 0.2
CANBERRA AIRPORT 11.6 -4.4 6.4 +3.3 0.6
WAGGA WAGGA AMO 12.6 -4.8 6.2 +1.0 1.0
MILDURA AIRPORT 17.1 -3.2 4.7 -2.7 0.0
EAST SALE AIRPORT 12.5 -4.4 4.1 -1.5 1.6
MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE 13.7 -3.5 5.9 -2.0 5.6
LAVERTON RAAF 13.2 -3.6 4.7 -1.9 5.8
BALLARAT AERODROME 9.0 -4.8 1.7 -3.2 7.6
LAUNCESTON AIRPORT 12.4 -1.7 -0.4 -4.6 0.2
HOBART (ELLERSLIE ROAD) 10.4 -4.6 2.3 -4.1 0.0

Downpours Gales & Gusts
High rainfall for periods of 6 hours or less. Highest wind gusts above 89km/h (storm force) or mean wind above 62km/h (gale force). Wind direction and mean windspeed shown in brackets.
No reports

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    E Kimberley
KUNUNURRA AERO : 89( 40/ 67 ) at 14:30
NEW SOUTH WALES
    Hunter Valley
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS : 76(270/ 65 ) at 13:15
    C Tablelands S
MOUNT BOYCE AWS : 104(250/ 58 ) at 14:41
    Sydney--east
SYDNEY AIRPORT AMO : 80(250/ 65 ) at 14:59
KURNELL AWS : 82(270/ 63 ) at 12:00
    Sydney--west
RICHMOND RAAF : 82(260/ 67 ) at 13:22
    Illawarra
MOSS VALE AWS : 80(260/ 65 ) at 08:28
ALBION PARK (WOLLONGONG AIRPORT) : 91(280/ 72 ) at 11:22
    South Coast
MONTAGUE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE : 85(180/ 65 ) at 13:47
GREEN CAPE AWS : 91(230/ 63 ) at 14:25
ULLADULLA AWS : 78(190/ 65 ) at 11:25
VICTORIA
    W Gippsland
WILSONS PROMONTORY LIGHTHOUSE : 96(260/ 50 ) at 06:49
KINGFISH B SHIP LOG 272 : 74(231/ 63 ) at 09:20
    W Coast
COLAC (MT GELLIBRAND) : 74(220/ 63 ) at 11:46
PORT FAIRY AWS : 76(250/ 65 ) at 01:39
AIREYS INLET : 91(220/ 61 ) at 12:01
TASMANIA
    N Coast
CAPE GRIM B.A.P.S. : 78(210/ 70 ) at 09:00
ISLANDS
    Islands
HOGAN ISLAND : 74(240/ 63 ) at 16:00