100 homes destroyed in Tasmania
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Parts of southern Australia have recorded all-time high temperatures readings in the past few days, and the heat wave has led to numerous wildfires, including blazes in Tasmania that have destroyed about 100 homes.
Hobart, Tasmania reported a high temperature of 108 degrees Friday, the warmest reading ever on the island south of Australia, with records going back to 1880.
Temperatures across much of Australia were in the 90s and 100s during the first part of the weekend, and wildfires are also burning in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Two wet years in a row, followed by this summer’s heatwave, have combined for dangerous fire conditions, officials said.
The Bureau of Meteorology is warning that the heatwave, which has already affected several states, will continue unabated well into next week.
Assistant weather services director Alasdair Hainsworth said the very high temperatures already being experienced in Western Australia are now extending eastwards across the continent, driven by an extremely hot air mass.
“Extreme heat events, such as this one, have wide ranging impacts across agricultural and horticultural sectors, infrastructure and transport, and not least human health and safety,” said Mr Hainsworth.
Broadly, temperatures are expected to peak in the mid-40s in some inland locations.
“Locations including Alice Springs, Adelaide, Renmark, Melbourne, Mildura, Echuca, Albury, Broken Hill and Wagga Wagga all have temperatures of 40 degrees or higher forecast for tomorrow (Friday),” he said.
“Another concern is the amount of vegetation following two wet years, which has led to high fuel loads, that continue to dry out and raise concerns about increased bushfire risk. Fast moving grassfires are of particular concern.
“Increasing fire danger is anticipated in southeast Australia with hot and gusty northerly winds, followed by a southwesterly change late on Friday.
“There will be some temporary relief from the heat on Saturday with this weak change, moving eastwards over the weekend.
“The next change is then expected to move through southern inland and coastal regions around Tuesday or Wednesday next week, but in other areas temperatures are expected to remain high, with a continuation of heatwave conditions well into next week,” said Mr Hainsworth.
The Bureau is also providing advice through federal and state emergency services partnerships to help them prepare for the onset of this heatwave and its likely impacts.
For further information go to www.bom.gov.au for forecast temperatures, weather and warnings in your state and region. Interviews with meteorologists and climate staff can be arranged on request, details provided below.