Category Archives: bushfires

Bushfires and Wild Fires

Effects of Storms

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Effects of Storms

Effects of Storms can be anything from the change in temperature to the damage in some cases - extreme destruction. Storms can impact people and property in many ways. Generally, the more severe the storms, the more the impact.

The media often report on stories such a Tropical Cyclone Yasi and Debbie and the impact of other storms such as trees through houses. Of course, a lot depends on the climate of the region.
In Europe and the North America, the effect of storms and weather can be from snow or ice! Snow can cause major disruptions to transports including roads and airport due to accidents or closures. Electricity supply failures can also occur

Approaching storms can also raise dust reducing visibility and eroding good top soil from agricultrual land.
Furthermore, Australia is a country prone to major bushfires which can destroy property, cause loss of livestock and also take lives..

Australia is a land of extremes and with droughts comes the floods. Major losses occur to property in terms of insurance values and loss of items runs into the tens of millions. This flood in Lismore certainly illustrates the impacts on the local community. Roads were also damaged in more recent floods: the dangers are certainly evident!

Some of the most intense efects of storms damage images come from tornadoes. Tornadoes can cause vehicles and even house to be relocated with even whole communities being destroyed. Greensburg suffered from its fate on the evening of the 4th May 2007. A 2.7km wide major tornado made a direct hit on the country township obliterating anything in its path!

Violent storms, wind and fires SE Australia 11th to 13th November 2016

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Violent Storms South Australia and New South Wales 11th to 13th November 2016

A significant weather event has crossed much of southern and eastern Australia which has impacted South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland in different ways.sydneyradar12nov6am

The system has been responsible for producing thunderstorms, some of which have caused damage, gales, outbreaks of hot weather, some heavy rainfall, fires and even snow across higher alpine regions.

South Australia

During Friday, the fast moving weather system produced a few significant thunderstorms across South Australia and there were reports of large hail across parts of north east Adelaide.

Additionally, a weather station at Pinaroo recorded peak wind gusts of 128 km/h between 6.58 pm and 7.05 pm from passing thunderstorms.

Mildura – Victoria 11/11/16

Late Friday between 8.47 pm and 9 pm, a significant thunderstorm passed over Mildura (North West Victoria) dropping 27.4 mm of rain in 13 minutes. This is significant as it represents 2 mm of rain per minute. A closer analysis of this shows that between 8.51 pm and 8.54 pm (3 minutes), 10.8 mm of rain fell or 3 mm per minute and between 8.54 pm and 8.57 pm, another 10 mm of rain fell. Hence for 6 minutes, rainfall rates were in the order of 3 mm per minute.

This was accompanied with gales of 96 km/h. This storm has caused damage across the city with a clean up occurring.

Such a storm of this intensity is unusual given the location of Mildura within a semi arid region of the state.

New South Wales

A storm system passed through the Central West and there are reports of further significant thunderstorm activity Friday night / Saturday morning. Rainfall figures reached 30 to 50 mm across some locations of the Central West.

The system passed through Sydney early Saturday morning but no significant weather occurred. A single thunderclap was heard early Saturday morning being the remnants of storm activity that had reached the coast. Rainfall was not significant with most totals in the order of 10 mm.

Following the morning rainfall, maximum temperatures reached 34 to 35 degrees across much of the city as north west winds increased through the afternoon.

A late afternoon thunderstorm developed off the coast at Broken Bay to Sydney's north but moved quickly out to sea.

Thunderstorms occurred across the North west slopes of New South Wales and the Upper Hunter Valley and a number of storms were documented by storm chasers. One particular storm passed very close to the town of Narrabri with the airport receiving three wind gusts to 128 km/h between 5.33 and 5.39 pm Saturday afternoon.

Queensland Saturday afternoon

Thunderstorms produced some strong rainfall totals across parts of Brisbane including 67 mm at Mt Nebo Alert and 65 mm at Everton Hills Alert. In Redland, an intense thunderstorm produced 51.4 mm of rain between 3.24 pm and 4 pm which is a period of 36 minutes. Redland received 53.2 mm for the 24 hours to 9 am 13/11/16.


The same system has produced some heavy rainfall across eastern and north eastern Tasmania with the highest figure being 171 mm at Mount St John to 9 am 13/11/16. Additionally, much of northern coastal Tasmania received 54 to 89 mm during the same period.

New South Wales Sunday 13 November





During Sunday, significant weather contrasts featured across New South Wales. In particular, while maximum temperatures reached 28C to 30C across Sydney, very cold air passed over Southern New South Wales thus places such as Albury experienced a cold wintry weather setup with constant showers and maximum temperatures struggling to reach 13C.

The same system has produced snowfall across the Mt Kosciusko region as freezing conditions set in for the passage of the system.

While this was occurring, a large bush fire occurred near Londonderry (North West Sydney) with fire fighters spending a number of hours fighting the blaze. At one stage, a thick plume of smoke emanating from the fire passed over Blacktown and south east blocking the sunlight. The fire was fanned by strong west to south west winds that reached 70 km/h at Penrith and 74 km/h at Badgerys Creek.

The system has produced a weekend of interesting weather contrasts with the one system creating numerous weather features depending on location.


1 – Sydney radar image at 5.48 am 12/11/16. Despite the radar showing this, significant rainfall amounts did not occur.

2 - The Namoi radar at 5.30 pm. The storm at Narrabri is the one of interest as it is known wind gusts reached 128 km/h.

3 - Photo - Developing storm cell of Avalon / Broken Bay. This storm formed on the coastline and developed further as it passed out to sea.

4 and 5 - Photos - Bushfire smoke plumes west from Blacktown fanned by strong winds Sunday afternoon.

Fort Mc Murray fires and evacuation of city of 80,000 – 3 to 6 May 2016

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The city of Fort Mc Murray lies approximately 56.43 degrees north and 111.22 degrees west in north east Alberta (Canada). Some 80,000 residents live within the municipal region.

The climate features severe cold winters with snow and summers are short due to latitude although it can reach 30C during the short summer season. The highest temperature recorded is 37C on 10 August 1991 while the lowest is minus 50.6C on 1 February 1947.

Rainfall is relatively low at 464.8 mm per year and snow cover is assured during the long cold winter. The bioclimate is generally boreal moist forest which provides some background to the climate of the region.

A wildfire within this region is highly unusual which has caused the evacuation of over 80,000 residents. As seen from NASA'S Terra MODIS satellite, vast plumes of thick smoke casts a shadow across over the region. It appears the worst of the fires is to the east and south east of the urban areas and fires have been fanned by dry southerly winds.

Using the NASA's Worldview system, the fire hot spots have been overlaid across the image to provide a better image of the hot spots.

There is also a separate fire burning north of the Gipsy Lake Wildland Provincial Park. At the time the satellite passed over, a cold front had passed through and winds were north west which would help fire fighters. Conditions are now cooler than that of recent days.

Recent maximum daily temperatures that have occurred are:-

1 May 25C.
2 May 27C.
3 May 33C (This was the day when the fires took hold as seen in media reports).
4 May 32C.
5 May 19C.
6 May 20 (To date).

A forecast top temperature of 27C is being made for May 7 with cooler conditions to come thereafter.

Recent overnight minimum temperatures for the same period are:-

1 May 1C.
2 May 4C.
3 May 11C (The nigh time conditions have been cold).
4 May 10C.
5 May 12C.
6 May 8C.

It can be seen that the minimum temperatures have been somewhat cold during this period which makes this event incredible.

When reviewing rainfall data for February to May, it can be seen that it has been dry. The heaviest rainfall has been 11 mm recorded on April 13 2016. The forest has dried out over recent months and given the right conditions, a fire has taken hold and reached such catastrophic levels.

It appears the worst of the conditions are over as long range forecasts do point to colder conditions and some rainfall which will help to ease the fire situation and assist fire fighters in containing the blazes across the region.


1 - Accuweather - Weather data for Fort Mc Murray for 1 to 6 May 2016.
2 - Fort Mc Murray Alberta Canada Climate data.
3 - NASA (Worldview) TERRA MODIS using fire and hotspot overlays acquired 6/5/2016.