Australia Braces for Second Heatwave, Bushfires as Cyclone Threatens Queensland

By @reissasu on
A South Australian policeman offers a drink of water to a koala at the side of the road
A South Australian policeman offers a drink of water to a koala at the side of the road in Adelaide January 16, 2014. Reuters

Fire authorities have issued catastrophic fire warnings in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia that faces another scorching heat wave of up to 45 degrees Celsius. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, a severe heat wave will reach the border between Victoria and NSW on Jan 28.

The heatwave will expand to the inland border area and reach Western Australia on Friday, Jan 31. Strong winds in parts of South Australia have prompted fire authorities to issue a fire danger warning in anticipation of bushfires.

Extreme fire danger warnings are in place in over some parts of the Eyre peninsula, Yorke peninsula, Mount Lofty ranges, Murraylands, Adelaide metropolitan, Riverland regions and Kangaroo Island.

The Country Fire Service has advised residents living near areas prone to bushfires to leave early in case of catastrophic fire danger. Fire authorities said it will be difficult to control wildfires since they need cooler weather conditions and significant resources.

Adelaide is predicted to 41C temperature on Jan 30. Melbourne has reached 39C but a cooler change is expected by next week as cool winds will embrace the coastal regions. For the rest of the week, NSW will have 40C temperatures.

Extreme fire danger has been issued in some parts of Victoria as total fire bans are in place for Wimmera, some regions in Gipplsnad and Mailee. Country Fire Authority state duty officer Stephen Walls said total fire bans must be strictly observed to reduce the chances of triggering a fire.

It is the second heatwave to hit in January after the record-breaking heatwave struck Victoria earlier in the month. The heatwaved sparked bushfires in the state of Victoria and killed one person. Fires in South Australia and New South Wales were also reported and prompted officials to issue several fire alerts. South-east Australia has been experiencing consecutive days of scorching temperatures. Various reports said that Victoria had at least 43 fires while South Australia had 16 blazes. Authorities reported 12 fires in New South Wales on Jan. 17.

Possible cyclone in Queensland

Meanwhile, severe weather including heavy rain, flashfloods and strong 90km/h winds are expected to batter northern Queensland as a cyclone threatens to form. The weather bureau has predicted heavy rains to pour between Port Douglas and Mackay beginning in the afternoon of Jan 29.

A tropical depression has been spotted about 870 kilometres east-northeast of Cairns and has a 50 per cent probability of turning into a cyclone. Residents are advised to prepare for severe weather and monitor weather updates. 

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