Australia

Heatwaves and high fire danger to continue into 2019: Forecasters

HEATWAVES and high fire danger are likely to continue across the Central West for the first few months of 2019, with hotter and drier than average conditions predicted. While an El Nino event is yet to become established, warmer than average days and nights are likely in coming months. There is a 80 per cent chance of exceeding the median maximum temperatures for the Central West from January to March, data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) shows. READ ALSO: Explosive find: Man caught trying to smuggle contraband into jail Rainfall, however, will be well below average across the entire region during the three-month period. There is just a 35 per cent chance of exceeding the average rainfall in most of the region, however, this does increase to 40 per cent for areas around Dubbo. BoM senior hydrologist Dr Paul Feikema said the hot, dry conditions are predicted for almost all of Australia. “With such warm conditions and clear skies forecast, heatwaves will remain a risk,” he said. READ ALSO: Vigilance needed: Call for care after Mobile Speed Vehicle starts roadside fire “Even a brief spell of dry and hot weather can raise fire danger levels quickly.” While some locations in the Central West have had recent rainfall, it was not enough to raise the levels of many rivers and streams. “Even with good recent rainfall, lower than average stream flows are more likely at nearly 75 per cent of locations,” Dr Feikema said. READ ALSO: Speeding their way to a loss of licence during the festive period

HEATWAVES and high fire danger are likely to continue across the Central West for the first few months of 2019, with hotter and drier than average conditions predicted.

While an El Nino event is yet to become established, warmer than average days and nights are likely in coming months.

There is a 80 per cent chance of exceeding the median maximum temperatures for the Central West from January to March, data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) shows.

Rainfall, however, will be well below average across the entire region during the three-month period.

There is just a 35 per cent chance of exceeding the average rainfall in most of the region, however, this does increase to 40 per cent for areas around Dubbo.

BoM senior hydrologist Dr Paul Feikema said the hot, dry conditions are predicted for almost all of Australia.

“With such warm conditions and clear skies forecast, heatwaves will remain a risk,” he said.

“Even a brief spell of dry and hot weather can raise fire danger levels quickly.”

While some locations in the Central West have had recent rainfall, it was not enough to raise the levels of many rivers and streams.

“Even with good recent rainfall, lower than average stream flows are more likely at nearly 75 per cent of locations,” Dr Feikema said.

PREDICTIONS: The chance of above median rainfall for January to March. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY