Total fire bans will be in place across several South Australian districts as an increasingly hot and unstable air mass brings the risk of severe thunderstorms.
Country Fire Service chief officer Mark Jones said the bushfire season was upon SA and a total fire bans would be in place for five districts on Tuesday.
He said the Yorke Peninsula would have an extreme rating while the West Coast, North West Pastoral and Eastern and Lower Eyre Peninsula would have severe ratings.
“The weather conditions in these areas will be hot and extremely windy with thunderstorms and dry lightning predicted ahead of a change later in the day,” Mr Jones said.
“This weather will also raise a lot of dust in some areas, making driving and even breathing conditions hazardous.
“If a fire starts and takes hold, it will be difficult for our firefighters to tackle.
“We’re concerned that ahead of the change, some dry lightning is forecast … If it comes through as dry lightning, there’s a chance for fires to start.”
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, there is high potential for localised damaging wind gusts, particularly over central parts across the Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, the Mid North, Flinders Ranges, North West Pastoral, Riverland and metropolitan Adelaide areas where severe thunderstorms are likely.
BoM meteorologist Kylie Egan said SA would see temperatures around 10C-15C above average for this time of year, which wasn’t unusual but was a burst of heat for the state.
“Temperatures (could get) into the low 40s, particularly out through Eyre Peninsula and we’ll see northerly winds picking up during the day… with winds getting up to 50-60km/h and may even be pockets with winds a little bit stronger than that,” she said.
“We are concerned about how strong the winds will be and are thinking about issuing a severe weather warning for those damaging winds.
“A wind change will come through during the day over on the Eyre Peninsula but it won’t reach central and eastern parts of the state until late evening or even early Wednesday morning.”
Originally published as Fears storms could start SA bushfires