Rain or Fire?

This one is worth watching – we’ve got a significant battle coming up later this week and over the weekend with a significant and longer lasting westerly change coming through – but the chance of showers and storms before it does so. If we get significant rain across the valleys before the event then the fire risk will be much lower – but if we get very little rain and additional storm activity then the westerlies will have the potential to bring raised fire danger levels over the late weekend and into next week. As such it’s going to be worth watching this one closely – we could see very subdued fire activity and wet forest…or we could well see a significant fire risk to our valleys.

The reason for the potential rain – we are finally seeing more tropical moisture make its way down across the country. This moisture helped produce the storms across the ranges last weekend and will interact with the incoming westerly change to bring storms on the boundary for one and possibly two days. here’s the forecast rain from a number of models. As has been the case recently you can see the bulk of the rain is forecast to fall over the hills, with much less closer to the coast:

And here’s the lightning forecast for this Friday afternoon from the EC model…This one is at the top end of the scale with regard to storm activity but gives an idea of what is possible:

Once we head into Sunday and beyond we start to see the (drier) westerlies win out. Here’s the forecast winds for Sunday 11am through Tuesday 11am:

You can see the westerlies pushing through on Sunday and sticking there through Monday and Tuesday…so looking much drier through that time. Those winds will likely be very gusty at times – which would not be good with any fires burning. Here’s the forecast maximum wind gusts for Monday afternoon:

Ouch. Nothing positive to offer when you see forecast gusts up to those levels…so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that a combination of ongoing amazing work from the RFS / NPWS / State Forests / SES plus decent rain from any storms we receive through Friday and Saturday is enough to contain and black out any fires. If not then they’ll be worth watching closely once we head into the new week. This is a good time to check that your fire plans is in place. This is only a personal blog – please make sure that you keep up to date with BoM warnings and RFS fire information over coming days.

Images: Meteologix, animations by Bellingen Weather

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