Friday 16 APR 2004

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2004

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VIC fires brought under control as heat moves NE
Locusts a continuing problem in SE AUS

VIC fires brought under control as heat moves NE

Light rain and cooler weather helped firefighters bring large bushfires in the upper Latrobe Valley east of Melbourne under control today. The largest, at Blue Rock 13km NNW of Moe, had burnt through 2200ha by late this afternoon. A second fire at Tonimbuk 25km NW of Warragul had burnt through 730ha in the Bunyip State Forest. Neither was affecting property and both were expected to be brought under control during the weekend. Six fires in the Alexandra/Broadford area are now contained, including the 375 Marginal Road blaze 5km N of Castella. The 361ha Patrol Road fire, 7km S of Noojee and between the Blue Rock and Tonimbuk fires, was also contained. Over 30 other fires that flared across the state over the past two days were now under control. Many of the fires are believed to have originated from government and private backburns that blazed out of control on Wednesday and yesterday in unseasonable weather conditions that were both hotter and windier than expected.

Hot conditions contracted into eastern NSW today, with maximum temperatures 8 to 12 above normal reported across the state's southeast. Burrinjuck Dam's 32.6 was 11.8 above. The hot day followed another warm night across NE VIC and parts of inland NSW. Wangaratta and Rutherglen both reported minima of around 17°, 10 above normal.

Locusts a continuing problem in SE AUS

The same hot northerly winds that brought unseasonable heat to SA, VIC and NSW over the past three days have also carried outliers of the QLD/NSW locust plague deep into southern states. The locusts were hatched by widespread flooding rain across QLD and NSW in mid January and reached plague proportions in Central Western NSW mid March (see report 16 March). Continuing dry conditions have reduced food supplies for the locusts, but low intensities of the plague have reached as far south as Wallan, 45km north of the Melbourne CBD. The 1km square infestation is the first known in the area. Victoria's member on the Australian Plague Locust Commission, Malcolm Campbell was reported by The Age as saying that locusts had migrated into Victoria only three times since the group was formed in 1975, each time to the state's north-west. "There are about 10 to 20 adults per square metre [near Wallan], which is really not very much," he said. "When we're talking a decent sort of plague we're talking numbers of 100 to 1000 per square metre."

Small swarms had also been spotted south and east of Wangaratta and Benalla VIC. In SA, small swarms have been found in the Riverland district and on the Eyre Peninsula around Cleve and Cowell. There have also been sightings in western NSW around Broken Hill and Milparinka to the north.

Laurie McCulloch, Director of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, told ABC Radio that the last time the insects made it so close to Melbourne was in the 1950s. He said the locusts were in search of greenery, whether native grasses or crops, but the exceptionally low rainfall across southern NSW and VIC over the past four months were making that scarce. "Locusts have migrated, particularly into New South Wales and the conditions where they have migrated into are very, very dry and what they seem to be doing is making several migrations, which is quite unusual."

Locusts continue to cause concern in Central Western NSW where they have been reported in plague proportions north of Orange. Low to medium intensity swarms are still active on the NSW Northwest Slopes and Plains. The Central Tablelands Rural Lands Protection Board and most of the Molong RLPB areas were drought declared on 1 April, with continuing dry weather since moderate rain fell in February adding to concerns for graziers and horticulturalists in the area as winter approaches.

The main worry now in all areas in which swarms have been reported is the potential posed for future outbreaks. Northern Slopes Rural Lands Protection Board ranger Andrew Phillips told the Inverell Times "A lot are laying or have laid, and with up to 80 eggs per lay and each adult laying up to three times in their life, that's a lot of eggs to hatch when the conditions are right," he said. The "right" conditions were likely to be after 25mm of rain fell in spring once the temperature reached about 25°. Billions of locust eggs now underground could then hatch with the only means of control being ground spraying after the wingless juvenile locusts banded together into areas about a fortnight after hatching.

National weather extremes for today

Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology

Records set this day: (none known)

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

37.7 WYNDHAM AERO N Kimberley WA
37.5 ROEBOURNE AERO E Pilbara WA
37.4 THARGOMINDAH POST OFFICE Far SW QLD
37.3 BIDYADANGA W Kimberley WA
37.2 KALBARRI Central West WA
37.2 BIRDSVILLE POLICE STATION Channel Country QLD

+11.8   32.6 BURRINJUCK DAM SW Slopes N NSW
+11.7   31.0 NERRIGA COMPOSITE South Coast NSW
+10.9   30.9 GOULBURN (PROGRESS ST) Goulburn/Monaro NSW
+10.3   28.8 TARALGA POST OFFICE Goulburn/Monaro NSW
+10.2   35.2 COBAR MO Upper Darling NSW
+10.2   28.5 LITHGOW (BIRDWOOD ST) C Tablelands S NSW
+10.2   28.5 BOMBALA (THERRY STREET) Goulburn/Monaro NSW

29.0 NORTHERN ENDEAVOUR Islands ISL
27.4 TROUGHTON ISLAND N Kimberley WA
27.2 VARANUS ISLAND Islands ISL
26.5 BEDOUT ISLAND E Pilbara WA
26.0 WARRUWI N Rivers NT
26.0 COCOS ISLAND AIRPORT Islands ISL

+10.7   17.6 WANGARATTA AERO Lower NE VIC
+9.9   17.0 RUTHERGLEN RESEARCH Lower NE VIC
+9.4   21.5 PEAK HILL POST OFFICE CW Plains S NSW
+9.3   11.0 THREDBO AWS Snowy Mtns NSW
+9.3   17.8 COROWA AIRPORT Riverina E NSW

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

8.0 MOUNT READ W Coast TAS
8.6 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
10.3 MOUNT WELLINGTON Southeast TAS
10.3 LIAWENEE Central Plateau TAS
11.0 MT BAW BAW W Gippsland VIC

-3.8   21.0 NULLARBOR W Agricultural SA
-3.1   26.0 WILUNA Interior WA
-2.9   21.2 CEDUNA AMO W Agricultural SA
-2.8   19.6 KEITH Mallee/Upper SE SA
-2.7   27.0 CARNEGIE Interior WA

-0.3 LAKE ST CLAIR NATIONAL PARK Central Plateau TAS
0.0 LIAWENEE Central Plateau TAS
0.9 OUSE FIRE STATION Derwent Valley TAS
1.8 LAKE LEAKE (ELIZABETH RIVER) E Coast TAS
2.0 MELTON MOWBRAY (NORTH STOCKMAN) Southeast TAS

-4.2   2.1 BUSHY PARK (BUSHY PARK ESTATES) Derwent Valley TAS
-3.8   8.2 NORTHAM Cent Wheatbelt WA
-3.6   8.2 KELLERBERRIN Cent Wheatbelt WA
-3.6   2.6 GROVE RESEARCH STATION Southeast TAS
-3.5   9.5 PERTH AIRPORT 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.

41.4 SHIPTONS FLAT N Coast--Barron QLD
38.2 ARVE VALLEY (ARVE ROAD) W Coast TAS
34.2 TAHUNE RESERVE W Coast TAS
32.0 FOXLEY ALERT Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
30.0 KOORALBYN ALERT Brisbane/SE Coast QLD

  Max+/- norm Min+/- normRain to 9am
BROOME AIRPORT 35.3 +1.0 23.3 +0.8 0.0
PERTH AIRPORT 31.5 +6.0 9.5 -3.5 0.0
ALBANY AIRPORT 25.3 +3.4 11.5 -0.2 0.2
KALGOORLIE-BOULDER AIRPORT 26.4 +1.3 11.1 -1.5 0.0
DARWIN AIRPORT 33.8 +1.1 24.2 +0.2 0.0
ALICE SPRINGS AIRPORT 32.1 +4.1 15.5 +3.0 0.0
ADELAIDE (KENT TOWN) 20.4 -2.0 13.5 +1.3 2.0
MOUNT GAMBIER AERO 17.7 -1.7 11.8 +3.2 2.8
CAIRNS AERO 27.9 -1.3 22.6 +1.0 2.2
TOWNSVILLE AERO 31.1 +1.5 22.3 +1.8 0.0
ROCKHAMPTON AERO 29.9 +1.2 19.4 +1.6 0.0
AMBERLEY AMO 28.1 +1.0 13.0 -1.1 0.0
BRISBANE AERO 26.4 17.1 2.2
ARMIDALE AIRPORT AWS 23.6 7.9 0.0
COFFS HARBOUR MO 27.3 +3.3 15.2 0.0 0.0
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS 25.1 +2.3 13.8 -1.5 0.0
SYDNEY (OBSERVATORY HILL) 25.6 +3.3 17.0 +2.4 0.0
PROSPECT DAM 29.5 +6.0 13.2 +0.1 0.0
WOLLONGONG UNIVERSITY 25.0 +2.5 17.4 +3.1 0.0
CANBERRA AIRPORT 29.9 +10.1 9.4 +2.8 0.0
WAGGA WAGGA AMO 31.1 +8.8 13.8 +4.6 0.0
MILDURA AIRPORT 24.7 +1.3 16.4 +6.3 0.0
EAST SALE AIRPORT 22.8 +2.6 15.4 +6.8 0.2
MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE 24.6 +4.4 15.6 +4.9 0.0
LAVERTON RAAF 23.8 +3.7 10.5 +0.7 0.0
BALLARAT AERODROME 18.5 +1.0 8.4 +1.0 0.2
LAUNCESTON AIRPORT 18.6 +1.3 4.3 -2.3 0.0
HOBART (ELLERSLIE ROAD) 19.4 +2.1 8.4 -0.5 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
CAPE FLATTERY
6.8mm in 33 min to 19:26 12.4mm/h
15.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 5.0mm/h
VICTORIA
    Upper NE
MT HOTHAM
15.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 5.0mm/h
    E Gippsland
MT NOWA NOWA
12.2mm in 1 hr to 21:00 12.2mm/h
15.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 5.0mm/h
    W Gippsland
BAIRNSDALE AIRPORT
10.8mm in 1 hr to 18:30 10.8mm/h
14.2mm in 1 hr to 19:00 14.2mm/h

VICTORIA
    Upper NE
MT HOTHAM : 76(360/ 67 ) at 15:49