Low intensity heatwave for inland NSW / Victoria – 11 to 14 January 2021

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Low intensity heatwave for inland NSW / Victoria - 11 to 14 January 2021

Following an extended period of cooler than normal weather for much of south eastern Australia, it is identified that there is a change in weather conditions and a burst of heat is imminent. It is identified that the next 3 to 4 days across inland regions of the south east will become hot with higher than normal maximum temperatures expected.

This heat has been dragged across to the south east in the wake of a strong high pressure cell and the development of hot north westerly winds that will drag the heat towards the south east. However, this heatwave is expected to be limited mostly to those regions that missed the recent rain events. As such, the burst of heat according to weather models will not make it to the east coast. While temperature will rise in the 30s for places such as Western Sydney, the extreme heat is not forecast to occur at the present time. Sea breezes along the coast should moderate daily maximum temperatures.

Low intensity heatwave for inland NSW / Victoria - 11 to 14 January 2021

As such, the west and south west parts of New South Wales and northern Victoria, north of the Great Dividing Range will be most affected by this event.

Forecast maximum temperatures over the next 4 days for the affected regions includes:-

1 - Wilcannia (Far West NSW) - Mon - 38C, Tue 41C, Wed 43C and Thu 37C.

2 - Broken Hill (Far west NSW) - Mon - 37C, Tue 38C and Wed 41C.

3 - Swan Hill (Mallee of NW Victoria) - Mon - 38C, Tue 40C, Wed 38C and Thu 40C.

4 - Mildura (Mallee of NW Victoria) - Mon - 38C, Tue 40C, Wed 38C and Thu 41C.

5 - Albury / Wodonga and Wagga Wagga (SW slopes NSW / NE Victoria) - Mon - 37C, Tue 39C and Wed 41C.

This suggests that the low intensity heatwave will be mostly concentrated within a corridor stretching from Albury / Wodonga / Wagga Wagga region of the south west slopes of NSW / North East Victoria, across Northern Victoria and north west towards Tibooburra in New South Wales. The heat is expected to moderate on Wednesday / Thursday as a wind change occurs and traverses east across Victoria.

Low intensity heatwave for inland NSW / Victoria - 11 to 14 January 2021

As suggested in previous posts, much of the region has already seen elevated fire danger levels this summer and this event will generate another period where the fire threat is high due to how dry it is for the affected regions.

Tropical Cyclone Imogen 3 and 4 January 2021

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Tropical Cyclone Imogen 3 and 4 January 2021

Tropical Cyclone Imogen was the first tropical cyclone of the season to form within Australian waters for the summer season 2020/21. The storm just reached a Category one storm on the Saffir Simpson Scale and barely lasted 18 hours in the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria of Queensland before crossing the coastline near Karumba.

Tropical Cyclone Imogen’s lifespan was short due to the storm forming so close to the Queensland coast. At landfall, the storm had wind gusts to 100 km/h and sustained winds of 65 km/h.

Peak wind gusts reached 110 km/h 4 hours after landfall before the storm weakened to a tropical depression over the southern part of Cape York Peninsula.

Accumulative rainfall totals reached 300 to 400 mm resulting in flooding and swelling of local rivers.

The attached image from NASA Worldview 3/1/2021 is showing the storm making landfall near Karumba.

Tropical Cyclone Imogen 3 and 4 January 2021

As shown in the plot below taken from the Bureau of MeteorologyWater and the Land”, the heaviest rainfall totals for Queensland for the week ending the 7/1/2021 is shown to be across northern Queensland and the general path of this storm / rain depression across the southern part of Cape York Peninsula can easily be depicted.

Tropical Cyclone Imogen 3 and 4 January 2021

Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021

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Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021

During the course of Monday afternoon 4 January 2021, a squall line swept across Sydney that brought significant wind gusts, heavy rain, small hail at Blacktown and a significant number of lightning strikes.

One media report suggested that there were 38,000 lightning strikes around and within 100 km of Sydney during the event.

While I could not chase the Monday event due to work commitments, it is noted that the storm swept rights across Sydney.

At Auburn where I work, there were at least 2 lightning strikes very close to the Cumberland City Council office building where I work and one may have struck the car park building due to the noise that was generated.

On the way home that afternoon, I noted that a drain became blocked on the corner of Kerr Parade and Marion Street which resulted in significant flooding of that section of road and a set of traffic lights were blacked out on Blacktown Road which suggested a local power failure.

The Monday afternoon storm brought peak wind gusts of 74 km/h at Camden between 3.42 pm and 3.47 pm, 85 km/h at the airport between 4.25 pm and 4.30 pm and rainfall of between 14 and 22 mm around Blacktown. Shanes Park in Sydney's West received 33 mm during the event being the highest rainfall total. Other suburbs had lower rainfall totals.

Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021
Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021
Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021

Late afternoon on the 5/1/2021, further showers and storms occurred across Sydney. I was able to take numerous photos of interesting cloud towers, cloud bases, cumulo congestus clouds and Cumulonimubus calvus cloud formations. Some of the cloud formations were impressive for the late afternoon sky.

Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021
Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021

One Particular storm occurred late evening over Blacktown that produced a heavy downpour of rain but little wind. While there was lightning, it was sporadic.

Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021

This event concluded the two day storm event for Sydney and all activity had cleared by 11 pm that evening.

Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021

The cloud images attached to this post are from 3 storm cells that formed over Western Sydney during the event.

Storms impact Sydney 4 and 5 January 2021
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