Category Archives: Heat Wave

Extensive period of heat last days to even weeks

Australia, a land of heat, fires, rain and floods – December 28 2015 to January 3 2016

Published by:




The continent of Australia is being heavily impacted by two significant weather events at the same time and this is becoming evident for the period 28 December 2015 to 3 January 2016. In particular, the events are divided into the following:-

1 - Northern Territory and Queensland - Monsoon low causing heavy rain and floods.

2 - South Australia and Victoria - Heatwave and bush fires.

As seen in the satellite photo of Australia acquired from the Bureau of Meteorology dated 28/12/2015, a vast area of northern Australia is under the influence of a deep monsoon low pressure system and a substantial cloud mass.

At the same time, South Australia, southern New South Wales and Victoria is totally clear of cloud. Hot dry weather is leading to new fears of fresh bush fires and current fires flaring again.

The two weather systems are having a dramatic impact at opposite ends of the spectrum.


The chances of a tropical cyclone forming in the Gulf of Carpentaria appears to have lessened as the monsoonal low has moved too far inland. As described in a separate post, a deep monsoon low has dumped more than 600 mm of rain in some areas of Northern Territory during the Christmas period leading to major flooding especially around Daly River. Some 470 residents of Daly River have had to be evacuated to Darwin and flood waters are creating havoc including crocodiles taking home owners pets. There is at least 1 known fatality from the flood event.

A large area of the top end of Northern Territory has been swamped with rain over the past 3 days and while the rain has eased in some areas, the aftermath is the flooding that will take some time to subside.

As seen in the satellite picture of the Northern Territory (MODIS Worldview from NASA and dated 28/12/2015), the monsoon low has moved inland taking the rain with it. The cloud is also spilling into Queensland and heavy rain has also occurred in some parts.

To date the heaviest flooding is across the Top End but south of Darwin.


As seen in the satellite photo of Victoria acquired from NASA MODIS and dated 28/12/2015, much of the state of Victoria is tinder dry. Effectively, the whole state has dried out over the past few weeks and vegetation is ready to burn.

Generally, the only area of green anywhere in south east Australia is the coastal strip of New South Wales including Sydney which is visible in the image. This could suggest that the El Nino Phenomena which usually brings reduced rainfall may not be having significant impact along the coastal strip of New South Wales but further away from the coast, another storey emerges.

In Victoria, a number of fires, recent and current continue to burn or have just been contained including:-

Barnarwartha / Wodonga:- It appears that at least 3 homes have been burnt in a blaze that scorched more than 7,000 hectares.

Wye River and Separation Creek:- At least 116 homes destroyed in a blaze that has scorched some 2,286 hectares. That fire is still not out. The cause appears to have been a lightning strike on December 19.

Scottsburn:- This is near Ballarat where a blaze has scorched some 4,570 hectares. While contained, it is not out.

Fire fighters are nervous because the fires and any other fire could readily flare up as another hot spell to heatwave conditions grip the state. The heat will build across South Australia then extend into western New South Wales and Victoria during the next 6 days. However, it appears that little of the heat will reach the east coast of New South Wales at the present time.

Some maximum temperatures being forecast include:-


Adelaide - Wed (37C), Thurs (38), Fri (38C), Sat (35C), Sun (36C).
Port Augusta - Tue (37), Wed (40C), Thurs (40), Fri (40C), Sat (38C), Sun (38C).
Tarcoola - Tue (38), Wed (41C), Thurs (41), Fri (40C), Sat (39C), Sun (40C).
Woomera - Wed (39C), Thurs (38), Fri (38C), Sat (39C), Sun (37C).


Bendigo - Wed (36C), Thurs (38), Fri (38C).
Mildura - Wed (39C), Thurs (40), Fri (39C), Sat (38C).
Nhill - Wed (38C), Thurs (40), Fri (40C).
Shepparton - Wed (36C), Thurs (38), Fri (38C).

In Melbourne, Thursday appears to be the hottest day where 37C is being forecast.

This generally shows that heatwave conditions are expected to prevail again especially for areas away from the coast.

The above shows the extreme contrast of two weather system occurring at the same time at opposite ends of the Australian continent, both of which are leading to secondary issues and emergency situations. This also shows that Australia is a land of drought and flooding rains, as drought is occurring in one region, while flooding rains is occurring in another.


1 - Bureau of Metorology (Satellite image of Australia) dated 28/12/15.
2 - NASA (MODIS Worldview with Overlays of northern and southern Australia) dated 28/12/2015.

Cool change ends heatwave 20 to 21 December 2015

Published by:




The cool change sweeping through southern Australia has ended the heatwave but it has left an impressive contrast of weather across three states. The NASA Worldview satellite image of southern Australia (Acquired from NASA 21/12/2015) is showing a strong north west / south east cloud mass across southern Australia and associated cool change.

During Sunday ahead of the change, the heat gripped western Sydney and the following maximums were recorded:-

Badgereys Creek 41.8C.
Camden 40.9C.
Prospect 40.4C.
Penrith 39.9C.
Richmond 39.7C.

They were amongst the highest maximum temperatures for Sydney.

Despite the north west wind, the heat did not filter across all parts of the city. Sydney's east was much cooler due to sea breezes.

This lead to a warm night with minimums of 24C being recorded at locations including Penrith, and Prospect.

For Monday 21 December 2015, maximum daytime temperatures across Sydney were recorded early and 30C was reached at locations such as Horsley Park, Penrith and Richmond prior to the cool change. It reached 32.5C at Penrith prior to the cool change taking hold after 1 pm.

Up until 6.30 pm, the cool change has brought reasonable rainfall to a few locations including 52.2 mm to High Range Alert, 32.2 mm to Bellambi, 29 mm to Oakdale, 27 mm to Wollongong Airport and 24.6 mm to Moss Vale AWS.

The same system has brought 1 to 18 mm of rain across Sydney to 6.30 pm (21/12/2015) with 18 mm at North Manly and 15 mm to North Richmond. There is also a fall of 32 mm at Webbs Creek (Wisemans Ferry).

During Sunday morning as the heat was building, a smoke plume travelled over north west Sydney which is seen in the attached Satellite photo from NASA Worldview image (Acquired 20/12/2015). The smoke was emanating from a bush fire north west of Wisemans Ferry north of Sydney. Hot dry north westerly winds later dispersed the smoke but at the time the photo was taken just south of Richmond, the smoke was dense enough that the Blue Mountains to the north west could barely be seen.

The photo looking north west from Castlereagh Road shows how thick the smoke haze was and why NASA'S MODIS satellite was able to detect it.

South coast

An impressive temperature range was recorded across locations of the south coast during Sunday. For example, it reached 41C at Batemans Bay but at nearby Moruya, the maximum temperature reached was 26C due to sea breezes. Sea breezes heavily influenced temperatures where 25C occurred at Ulludulla but at Braidwood 665 metres above sea level, it reached 37.2C.

Incredible high temperatures (South Australia) Saturday.

On Saturday a maximum temperature of 47.2C occurred at Port Augusta which came on top of the 45.2C recorded on the Thursday while 45.6C occurred at Port Pirie Aerodrome.

The recent heatwave has known to have caused a spike in people seeking treatment for heat exhaustion at local hospitals.


During Sunday prior to and following the cool change, a stark contrast of extreme weather was recorded as follows:-

Albury – A maximum of 41.5C recorded.

Wangaratta – Following the cool change, a thunderstorm passed over the town producing no less than three wind gusts of 93 km/h at 4.56 pm, 5 pm and 5.02 pm. During the storm, 23.6 mm fell including 6 mm between 4.56 pm and 5 pm (6 mm in 4 minutes). The maximum temperature recorded here was 41C at 1 pm but at the time the thunderstorm passed over, the temperature had fallen to a comfortable 25.3C.

Barnawartha / Wodonga – A significant grass fire / bushfire burning out of control across 7,000 hectares during the afternoon tested emergency services. The fire burning from north west to south east under prevailing north west winds posed a serious threat to Leneva and outlying suburbs of Wodonga. The threat has now eased with the fire contained. Homes have been lost in this blaze.

The cool change and even some rain has helped to ease the fire situation across that region.

This shows the contrast of weather recorded before and after the cool change and why this was a significant event in its own right across so many regions.

Heatwave grips southern Australia 20/12/2015

Published by:



The attached NASA Worldview satellite image of southern Australia (Acquired from NASA 20/12/15) taken on the 19 December 2015 is showing much of the southern part of the country parched and any major bush fires would present a serious challenge to fire fighters.

During this current heatwave phase, blazes have occurred near Melbourne and there is a blaze north of Sydney but so far, major bush fires have been avoided.

The image is also showing the cool change now passing through South Australia and reaching Adelaide.

This city has sweltered through 4 consecutive days where the maximum temperature has exceeded 40C. During Saturday a maximum temperature of 42.8C was reached. A temperature of 31.2C was recorded at 7 am Saturday morning.

A feature of this heatwave is threefold:-

1 - Long periods where temperatures are exceeding 30C.
2 - Very warm overnight minimums.
3 - The longevity of the event and scale.

This is seen in Melbourne (Victoria). After reaching 40.7C at 4.27 pm Saturday afternoon, a temperature of 30C was recorded at 11.30 pm. After dropping to 26.7C at 3 am Sunday morning, a temperature of 30C was recorded at 4 am. A temperature of over 30C at 4 am and 6 am is highly unusual for this city.

At Aireys Inlet, south west of Melbourne, a maximum temperature of 42.4C was reached at 2.30 pm. At 4.30 am Sunday morning, it was 30C.

At Mildura, the temperature has not been below 30C since 7.30 am Saturday morning. After reaching 42.4C at 5.30 pm Saturday, is was still 32.1C at 6 am Sunday morning and 32C at 6.30 am which at the time of writing is the minimum temperature.

The ACCESS Model (Bureau of Meteorology) for Sunday is showing the dome of heat spreading east and the cool change seen in the satellite image also pushing east into Victoria.

The heat from this event will reach the east coast and western Sydney and hence temperatures of 38C to 40C are predicted for western Sydney. A temperature of 39C is forecast for Melbourne. Large areas of northern Victoria and inland New South Wales are forecast to reach the 40C mark.

For western Sydney, there is no cool change tonight and it appears a warm uncomfortable night will follow this event.

Predicted maximum temperatures for Sunday include:-

Liverpool, Penrith and Richmond 39C to 40C consistent with what is shown in the maximum temperature plot for 5 pm attached.

Melbourne 39C prior to the cool change early afternoon.

Albury, Finley, Hay - 40C.
Mildura - 39C.