ANYONE who hoped the summer storms that have lashed NSW were nearly over should think again — things will be just as ugly over the next few days.
The state will continue to be hit by storms today, with the possibility of flash flooding and dangerous surf conditions.
Victoria is also suffering similar conditions, but fireys are making the most of it as they prepare for a potential heatwave next week which could exacerbate bushfires along the Great Ocean Road. The heatwave will come sooner for Western Australians, though, with predicted highs of 39 degrees from tomorrow.
While still umbrella weather in Brisbane, conditions should ease this afternoon with the mercury hitting 30 degrees tomorrow but the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms remains.
SOGGY NEW SOUTH WALESAs of early this morning, 33.8mm of rain had fallen in Sydney, with 45.6mm at Horsley Park in the west leading to localised flooding. The greatest danger is in mid-north coast and Hunter regions, where residents have been told to brace for possible flash flooding.
The Bureau of Meteorology said a severe weather warning was in place for many parts of the state, including the south coast and parts of the southern tablelands, Snowy Mountains district, Hunter, and mid-north coast.
A minor flood warning has been issued for the Bega River on the south coast while the Moruya River on the south coast has flooded in some areas and peaked below the minor flood level at 3.7 metres about 6.30pm.
Those areas were among the hardest hit yesterday with Bateman’s Bay saturated with 117mm of rain and Moruya with 155mm — the heaviest January rainfall in both places since 1999.
The weather made for dangerous surf conditions which closed many popular eastern suburbs beaches, including Tamarama where the heavy rainfall and overflowing storm water drains saw pollution levels spike.
VICTORIA HEATING UP
In Victoria, where one man died yesterday when his van become engulfed by flood waters, firefighters are using milder, humid conditions to build containment lines around a bushfire that has destroyed more than 100 homes. Temperatures, currently in the mid-20s, are expected to soar into the mid-30s by next Monday.
The Wye River-Jamieson Track fire has burned 2486ha and destroyed 116 houses in the Great Ocean Road towns of Wye River and Separation Creek, after flaring on Christmas Day following a lightning strike six days earlier.
It remains out of control in steep bushland and is likely to burn all summer.
Emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley says milder weather conditions have offered firefighters some short-lived relief.
“We move back into hot weather next week and we’ll move back into the January fire season again, which is something we need to be focused on,” he said.
“The potential that it will move into the high 30s and into the 40s in the next week is one of those scenarios that we will face.” Incident controller Alistair Drayton said firefighters were battling dense forest and poor visibility, with fog reducing visibility in some areas to as little as 10m, hindering aerial support.
Wye River and Separation Creek have reopened with risk assessment teams clearing them of airborne asbestos, and electricity and water largely restored.
But the possibility of landslides remains an issue, Mr Lapsley said.
He said some houses, while still standing, aren’t safe to live in because they may be on steep land that could become unstable because of fire damage.
REACHING 40C IN THE WEST
Tasmanians will likely escape the worst of the weather with sunny days and highs in the mid-20s.
In Perth, sunny conditions and a manageable high of 33 degrees today will give way to a punishing 39 degrees tomorrow with scorching temperatures and possible storms expected to last until Friday. In South Australia, it’s sunshine and highs of 31 degrees for the rest of the week with similar temperatures but stormy conditions in Darwin.