Wednesday 14 APR 2004

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2004

Dec

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Heat records tumble in VIC, NSW as fires break out

Departures from normal today for minimum temperatures (above) and maxima (below). BoM
This 6-hourly sequence of surface charts from 10pm Tuesday to 10pm today shows a moderate north to northwesterly stream over the southeast. This conveyor belt of hot inland air has been nudged only very slowly east by a weak trough and dying cold front. BoM

Heat records tumble in VIC, NSW as fires break out

Heatwave conditions moved from SA into NSW and VIC today, breaking long-standing April temperature records and sparking widespread fires across VIC.

Over 50 fires broke out in VIC, giving firefighters their worst day of the fire season. The main concentration of blazes was in the mountains to the east and northeast of Melbourne, where dozens of fires were burning between Alexandra and the Latrobe Valley. From west to east, the most noteworthy were:

  • Around Horsham, 9 private burn-offs got out of control as wind at the airport gusted to 74km/h. The main fire on the Longerenong Road burnt through 50ha.
  • Coonooer Bridge, 20km N of St Arnaud: 200 firefighters and 2 water-bombing aircraft fought a blaze which consumed around 400ha. Winds were said to be gusting to 120km/h.
  • A number of fires were burning around Castella and Toolangi, 15km NNW of Healesville
  • A fire in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Wantirna Park was fought by 65 CFA crew. It threatened homes and burnt 15ha.
  • Blue Rock Dam, 15km NW of Moe: ultimately to become the largest fire, had burnt through about 1250ha by early Thursday morning. Residents at Tanjil South, SE of the blaze, were advised to activate their bushfire plans in anticipation of an ember attack on Thursday.
  • Morwell: A 10ha fire closed the Princes Highway for an hour.
  • A 30ha fire at Flaggy Creek 17km NW of Bairnsdale threatened homes.

The fire weather developed in an unusual, lazy synoptic situation that gave record or near-record April high temperatures across western and central VIC and southern NSW . Victoria's top temperature was 36.6 at Walpeup in the far west, with Ouyen, Swan Hill and Kerang all reporting highs of 36.0°. The departures from normal were greatest in the Gippsland, however, where Lakes Entrance, East Sale, Morwell, Orbost and Bairnsdale all reached around 35°, 14 to 15 above average. Long standing records fell at Horsham, Kerang, Castlemaine and Wilsons Promontory (see records below). Melbourne's maximum of 32.5 was just shy of the 1938 record of 34.9 and the warmest April day since 1985. In southern NSW, Lake Cargelligo, Bombala and Thredbo Village all had their warmest April day in 30 or more years of computerised records.

Ahead of the hot day lay an uncomfortably warm night. Melbourne's official minimum for the 24 hours to 9 today was 14.5, but this was the temperature at 9am yesterday morning. Overnight, the temperature only dropped to 21.8, for which you have to go back to 1985 to find an equally warm April night and back to 2 April 1887 to find a warmer one, the April record of 22.2. Official minima were from 6 to 13 above normal across most of SA and the western parts of NSW and VIC .

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 April
New South Wales:
070005 BOMBALA (THERRY STREET) 30.0 (28.9, 35)
071041 THREDBO VILLAGE 22.3 (22.0, 30)
075039 LAKE CARGELLIGO AIRPORT 34.5 (34.4, 33)
Victoria:
079023 HORSHAM (POLKEMMET) 35.2 (34.6, 42)
080023 KERANG 36.0 (34.4, 41)
081123 BENDIGO AIRPORT 33.7 (30.5, 12)
085096 WILSONS PROMONTORY LIGHTHOUSE 29.2 (29.0, 47)
085280 MORWELL (LATROBE VALLEY AIRPORT) 35.0 (33.9, 20)
086375 CRANBOURNE BOTANIC GARDENS 32.3 (30.0, 13)
088110 CASTLEMAINE PRISON 32.2 (31.6, 34)

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 22:17EST, 27/10/2004.

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

38.0 OODNADATTA AIRPORT NE Pastoral SA
37.7 MANDORA E Pilbara WA
37.4 MENINDEE POST OFFICE Lower Darling NSW
37.3 PORT AUGUSTA AERO W Agricultural SA
37.0 MARLA POLICE STATION NW Pastoral SA
37.0 ROXBY DOWNS (OLYMPIC DAM AERODROME) NW Pastoral SA
37.0 MARREE NE Pastoral SA
37.0 WILCANNIA AERODROME AWS Far Northwest NSW
37.0 POONCARIE TELECENTRE Lower Darling NSW

+15.0   34.9 LAKES ENTRANCE E Gippsland VIC
+14.6   34.8 EAST SALE AIRPORT W Gippsland VIC
+14.6   35.0 MORWELL (LATROBE VALLEY AIRPORT) W Gippsland VIC
+14.2   35.0 ORBOST (COMPARISON) E Gippsland VIC
+14.2   34.7 BAIRNSDALE AIRPORT W Gippsland VIC

29.0 NORTHERN ENDEAVOUR Islands ISL
27.3 BEDOUT ISLAND E Pilbara WA
26.7 TROUGHTON ISLAND N Kimberley WA
26.4 COCOS ISLAND AIRPORT Islands ISL
26.0 WARRUWI N Rivers NT

+13.1   23.9 ARKAROOLA NE Pastoral SA
+11.8   17.3 STRATHBOGIE Lower NE VIC
+11.6   21.7 IVANHOE POST OFFICE Southwest Plains NSW
+11.3   22.7 WHYALLA AERO W Agricultural SA
+10.9   22.6 BROKEN HILL (PATTON STREET) Lower Darling NSW

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

13.9 MOUNT WELLINGTON Southeast TAS
14.1 MOUNT READ W Coast TAS
16.2 HARTZ MOUNTAIN (KEOGHS PIMPLE) Southeast TAS
16.3 SCOTTS PEAK DAM W Coast TAS
16.5 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC

-10.1   18.9 WARBURTON AIRFIELD Interior WA
-5.0   23.3 PAYNES FIND E Gascoyne WA
-4.0   25.7 CARNEGIE Interior WA
-3.9   25.2 MEEKATHARRA AIRPORT E Gascoyne WA
-3.8   21.0 NULLARBOR W Agricultural SA

3.0 PERISHER VALLEY SKI CENTRE Snowy Mtns NSW
3.8 COLLIE EAST Lower West WA
3.9 COOMA VISITORS CENTRE Goulburn/Monaro NSW
4.5 WANDERING Cent Wheatbelt WA
4.5 THREDBO VILLAGE Snowy Mtns NSW

-6.4   6.5 MERREDIN Cent Wheatbelt WA
-5.6   6.5 NAREMBEEN Cent Wheatbelt WA
-5.5   6.4 PINGELLY Cent Wheatbelt WA
-5.3   6.2 LAKE GRACE COMPARISON Cent Wheatbelt WA
-5.2   8.7 PEARCE RAAF Lower West WA

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.

38.0 GLEN ALLYN N Coast--Barron QLD
29.0 QLD COTTON Maranoa QLD
26.2 EDJUDINA Goldfields WA
24.0 EYRE Eucla WA
23.6 COOMERA FOXWELL ROAD Brisbane/SE Coast QLD

  Max+/- norm Min+/- normRain to 9am
BROOME AIRPORT 32.3 -2.0 23.2 +0.7 0.0
PERTH AIRPORT 23.5 -2.0 9.4 -3.6 0.0
ALBANY AIRPORT 19.1 -2.8 10.1 -1.6 1.6
KALGOORLIE-BOULDER AIRPORT 24.3 -0.8 12.4 -0.2 4.6
DARWIN AIRPORT 33.5 +0.8 24.5 +0.5 0.0
ALICE SPRINGS AIRPORT 34.8 +6.8 15.4 +2.9 0.0
ADELAIDE (KENT TOWN) 32.2 +9.8 18.5 +6.3 0.0
MOUNT GAMBIER AERO 26.9 +7.5 16.6 +8.0 0.0
CAIRNS AERO 26.9 -2.3 22.1 +0.5 2.0
TOWNSVILLE AERO 30.7 +1.1 19.9 -0.6 0.0
ROCKHAMPTON AERO 30.2 +1.5 18.1 +0.3 0.0
AMBERLEY AMO 28.6 +1.5 16.2 +2.1 0.0
BRISBANE AERO 26.4 17.2 0.0
ARMIDALE AIRPORT AWS 24.5 11.0 0.0
COFFS HARBOUR MO 24.3 +0.3 17.0 +1.8 0.0
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS 22.5 -0.3 15.4 +0.1 0.2
SYDNEY (OBSERVATORY HILL) 23.8 +1.5 16.4 +1.8 0.0
PROSPECT DAM 26.7 +3.2 14.8 +1.7 0.0
WOLLONGONG UNIVERSITY 23.5 +1.0 14.4 +0.1 0.0
CANBERRA AIRPORT 28.8 +9.0 8.2 +1.6 0.0
WAGGA WAGGA AMO 31.1 +8.8 13.2 +4.0 0.0
MILDURA AIRPORT 35.0 +11.6 17.6 +7.5 0.0
EAST SALE AIRPORT 34.8 +14.6 11.8 +3.2 0.0
MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE 32.5 +12.3 14.5 +3.8 0.0
LAVERTON RAAF 33.6 +13.5 15.3 +5.5 0.0
BALLARAT AERODROME 30.1 +12.6 15.3 +7.9 0.0
LAUNCESTON AIRPORT 22.9 +5.6 10.3 +3.7 0.0
HOBART (ELLERSLIE ROAD) 23.8 +6.5 12.2 +3.3 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.
QUEENSLAND
    N Coast--Barron
CAIRNS AERO
36.8mm in 30 min to 01:00 73.6mm/h
36.8mm in 1 hr to 01:00 36.8mm/h
36.8mm in 14 min to 07:30 157.7mm/h
37.0mm in 1 hr to 07:30 37.0mm/h
38.0mm in 14 min to 08:18 162.9mm/h
ISLANDS
    Islands
NORFOLK ISLAND AERO
4.8mm in 12 min to 08:33 24.0mm/h

VICTORIA
    Wimmera S
HORSHAM AERODROME : 74(330/ 65 ) at 14:27
TASMANIA
    Southeast
MOUNT WELLINGTON : 95(300/ 74 ) at 04:00