30 December 2009

Toodyay, WA plus

Still mostly in holiday mode here, but a few of items of note...

1. At least 37 homes have been destroyed in a bushfire, apparently ignited by a fallen power pole.in Toodyay, WA, approximately 80 km northeast of Perth. The fire started around noon yesterday (29 Dec) and has burnt over 2900 ha. Nearby observations suggest that fire weather conditions were 'catastrophic', with max temperatures in the low 40s, RH below 10% and 40 km/h sustained winds. Cloudy conditions prevented a satellite view of the fire.

2. Just before Xmas saw a significant bushfire near Pt Lincoln, SA. 13 homes and a State Emergency Service base amongst other things were destroyed in the 650 ha blaze. Hot (43C), dry windy conditions prevailed.

3. The rise and fall of TC Laurence has proceeded mostly in line with the general scenario outlined around 2 weeks ago...Lingered in the Pilbara before striking an eastward path across the country, culminating in a large rain event in NSW. The storm made three (I think) landfalls and the subsequent re-intensifications reached category 5 on two occasions. Significant rain in the Pilbara, across northern SA and into NSW. Northeastern NSW in particular saw a good deal of precipitation, although 50+ mm were widespread in the eastern part of the state.

This rain should dampen the fire danger in those areas for at least a week or two anyway. In the north, maybe enough to end the season? More rain in the near future would help this a reality...Northern SA saw a wet Spring, particularly November. These normally arid regions could see a 'green up' in the coming seasons, potential fuel for next year's bushfire season.

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