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Some residents in regional South Australia have been urged to leave their homes and seek safety as “catastrophic” fire danger conditions are predicted for New Years Day.
Catastrophic fire ratings are also in place for central and southern parts of the Western Australian interior today.
In South Australia, Total fire bans have been declared for 13 fire ban districts and four of them have been given a catastrophic fire danger rating.
The state’s Country Fire Service (CFS) said on Tuesday evening that those districts were Flinders, Northwest Pastoral, Northeast Pastoral and the Mid North.
The CFS said that in areas with catastrophic fire danger ratings even well prepared, well constructed and defended homes may not be safe during a fire.
“To ensure your survival you should leave tonight or early tomorrow morning.”
Very hazardous fire weather conditions are predicted in total fire ban areas.
The other fire ban districts given severe and extreme fire danger ratings are West Coast, Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Metropolitan, Yorke Peninsula, Riverland, Murraylands and the Upper South East.
The total fire bans will apply for the 24 hours of New Years Day from midnight on Tuesday.
In WA, the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating for New Year’s Day including:
• Shire of Laverton – north western, central and eastern parts
• Shire of Menzies – eastern part
• Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku
• Shire of Wiluna – central and eastern parts
Severe fire danger advice for the Eucla for today. http://t.co/vNsUCnSPYc
— DFES (@dfes_wa) December 31, 2013
New Year’s day heat
Tarcoola recorded the highest maximum of 48.2C, with Oodnadatta not far behind on 47.7C, three degrees short of the town’s record high of 50.7C in 1960.
The temperature in Oodnadatta had been forecast to go as high as 49C.
Other centres to go above 47C included Roxby Downs and Coober Pedy, with the scorching conditions extending as far south as Port Augusta, which had 46.2C.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the hot conditions would continue on Thursday with Moomba and Marree expecting tops of 49C, Oodnadatta 48C, Marla 47C and Leigh Creek 46C.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Domenic Pannucio says it is likely to be even hotter at some sites which are not monitored.
“It’s definitely possible that there’ll be areas exceeding 50 degrees across the north of the state,” he said.
“Obviously we can only go by the locations where there are weather stations and there are a lot of regions there in the outback that we don’t do readings for, so there certainly is some potential to get above 50 degrees in some parts of the outback.”
But he says southern areas will be spared extreme heat.
“With the tropical cyclone that’s coming into Western Australia weakening into a low pressure system as it moves down towards the south-western border of our state by Thursday morning, that’s going to keep the heat from sort of pushing down into the south.”
Conditions were cooler in SA’s south as a change moved through with milder conditions forecast for the next 24 hours. The bureau said Adelaide’s top temperature on Thursday would be 23C with rain likely, while at Stirling, in the Adelaide Hills, a top of 19C was likely
An extreme heat wave across much of Australia in January this year forced the Bureau to add more colours to some of its forecast charts for temperatures up to 54 degrees Celsius.