A strong cold front is set to aid firefighting efforts but will bring complications and severe weather warnings of its own.
Residents in Victoria’s Gippsland region have been warned that it’s “too late to leave” as two out-of-control fires in Briagolong and Loch Sport threaten homes and lives.
In NSW, 82 fires are burning across the state with 16 not yet contained as temperatures soar towards 40C in some parts of the state, including Sydney.
A “strong” cold front is moving across South Australia on Tuesday, causing a “band of rain” to develop alongside winds of up to 100km/h hour across the Alpine areas of NSW and Victoria.
Victoria has already begun to be impacted by the cold front, with strong and gusty winds making themselves known across the state, including in fire-affected areas according to Sky News meteorologist Alison Osbourne.
“What has been nasty are the winds, gusting over 80km/h over fire-affected areas … so that definitely caused a dynamic growth in those fires overnight, adding to the dangerous situation,” she said.
Severe weather warnings are also in place for Melbourne and Ballarat where wind gusts “in excess” of 100km/h are expected over the coming days.
The winds are expected to give way to worryingly heavy rain from midday on Tuesday, with up to 150mm falling over some parts of Victoria in the next 24 hours according to Ms Osbourne.
“For those fire-affected areas, we’re expecting at the very least 25-55mm,” she said.
“Now this is falling over catchments which have had a recent warm and dry spell, a lot of water run-off is possible and this is leading to the risk of some flash flooding but also river rises for the Mitta Mitta, Snowy and Upper Murray (rivers), so those catchments are on flood watch.”
Before the cold front moves to the east coast of NSW on Wednesday, Sydney will have to endure scorching temperatures, with the mercury likely to hit 37C in the city’s west.
“Now the forecast shows vigorous northwesterly winds pulling desert heat over towards the NSW coast again, this means daytime temperatures nudging the mid to high 30s combined with very low humidity, potentially some raised dust in the mix as well,” Ms Osbourne said.
The cold front is then set to create a low-pressure system over the state according to Weatherzone meteorologist Bob Neil.
“This will bring a band of severe thunderstorms to central NSW which will move east during the day, reaching Sydney and coastal NSW later on Wednesday,” he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts heavy rainfall of 50-60mm in just six hours could be possible for the NSW Riverina and warns of flash flooding.