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Weather News - Landlocked low brings flooding rain

Ben Domensino, 16 January 2017

A tropical low that inundated northwest Queensland on the weekend will spread heavy rain and flooding across parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia during the next few days.

The low and an associated trough caused heavy rain in Queensland's Gulf Country on the weekend. The system is now positioned over the Northern Terriotry's Barkly District and will move west to reach Western Australia's Interior on Wednesday.

On the weekend, rainfall totals of 50-150mm near the low produced minor flooding in northwest Queensland. A flood watch remains in place for the Gulf Rivers, as showers and storms will continue until at least Wednesday.

The heaviest rain during the next 48 hours will occur over the Carpentaria, Barkly, Gregory and Tanami Districts of the Northern Territory, near the low as it moves towards the west. A severe weather warning is in place for flash flooding in parts of these four districts. A flood watch has also been issued for some Western and Central Inland Rivers, where rainfall totals could reach 200-300mm in between now and Wednesday.

Parts of Western Australia are already being affected by flooding from recent rainfall and flood watches are in place for parts of the Kimberley, Pilbara and Interior. This situation will be exacerbated when the low brings heavier rain from Wednesday, most likely over the Interior and Kimberley.

Road closures are likely across a broad stretch of outback Australia due to the passage of this low pressure system. Roads may become inaccessible rapidly and some communities could remain cut off for a lengthy period of time.

Stay up to date with the latest flood watches and warnings at: http://www.weatherzone.com.au/warnings.jsp and contact the SES on 132 500 if you need emergency assistance.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

Weather News - Fire fuel loads increase after recent heat in NSW

Ben Domensino, 17 January 2017

Prolonged heatwave conditions are helping elevate the bushfire threat in parts of New South Wales this week, after a slow start to the season.

As of today, Lightning ridge has registered eight consecutive days above 39 degrees and Mungindi seven over 40. This is the longest such spell in seven years for both locations. If Lightning Ridge gets above 39 degrees until Friday, it will be the longest run of heat this intense in a decade.

Further south, Forbes had its hottest January day in at least 20 years on Friday 13th when the mercury hit 45.5 degrees. Wanaaring reached a scorching 46.9 degrees on the same day.

The recent hot weather comes after the second hottest December on record for New South Wales and it is helping create new fuel for bushfires.

The Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a satellite-based measure of vegetation health, reveals that most areas on and west of the ranges have seen a significant reduction in live, green vegetation since November. Abundant vegetation that had grown west of the ranges after record-breaking mid-year rainfall has rapidly dried out and is dying.

Most of the state experienced Very High fire danger ratings today as temperatures exceeded 40 degrees from Campbelltown to Cobar. The hot weather helped a bushfire at Currandooley, near the ACT, grow and get out of control. This prompted an emergency warning from the Rural Fire Service.

Total fire bans have also been issued for Wednesday in the Greater Sydney, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Southern Ranges, Central Ranges, Southern Slopes and ACT fire area.

Visit http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/major-fire-updates for updates on major fires in New South Wales and the ACT.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

Weather News - Heat fuelling southern fire danger today

Ben Domensino, 17 January 2017

Total fire bans are in place for parts of South Australia and Victoria today as temperatures soar ahead of an approaching cool change.

In South Australia, temperatures are expected to reach 39 degrees in Adelaide today and 44 at Leigh Creek and Roxby Downs. These maximums are 8-10 degrees above average for this time of year. Adelaide had already reached 34 degrees at 10:20am.

Across the border, tops of 42-43 degrees are expected at Swan Hill, Ouyen and Mildura in northwest Victoria. Melbourne was previously expected to reach the high thirties, although a southerly now looks like arriving earlier than expected and could limit heating to about 35-36 degrees in the city. This would make it Melbourne's third day over 35 this month and the sixth so far this season, which is close to what's expected by this point in January.

Today's heat will combine with fresh and dry winds in some areas, causing very high to severe fire danger ratings across both states. Total fire bans are in place for nine of South Australia's 13 districts and in the Mallee, Wimmera and North Central Districts of Victoria.

A southerly change will sweep over the southern districts of South Australia and Victoria from this afternoon, before pushing further inland tonight. The wind change itself may be problematic for any active fires, although cooler temperatures will alleviate fire danger in most areas by tomorrow.

On Wednesday, most of Victoria and southern parts of South Australia will be 10-15 degrees cooler than today.

Adelaide could go from near 40 degrees today to a top of 28 tomorrow afternoon. Melbourne is forecast to reach just 21 degrees on Wednesday after a wet and cloudy morning.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017