The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) says there is a “very high to severe fire danger forecast” across the state today as hot, gusty winds exacerbate dry conditions.
- Total fire bans are in place across nine regions in NSW
- A cool southerly change is expected from about 3:00pm today
- People have been warned about the rapid spread of grass fires
Total fire bans are in place across nine regions: The Far North Coast, North Coast, Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney, North Western, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Central Ranges, New England and Northern Slopes.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has forecast a top of 39 degrees Celsius today in Sydney’s CBD, with winds from the north and north-west reaching 45 kilometres an hour before shifting south to south-easterly in the late afternoon.
The BOM’s Helen Kirkup said the cool southerly change expected from about 3:00pm today would bring its own set of complications.
“The southerly change will come through late Sunday — it could come through as a very strong change so anyone on the beaches and on boats would want to keep on top of the timing of that,” she said.
“The temperature could drop 10 degrees, and suddenly the wind can be 30 knots from the south and people will get caught out if they’re not aware that it’s happening.”
Ms Kirkup said hot weather records were expected to be broken this weekend.
“We are borderline [breaking] records for November across the Sydney Metropolitan area, places up in the Hunter,” she said.
Hundreds of people flocked to Manly Beach before 8:00am this morning, with Sydney’s temperature already soaring over 30C.
With a high overnight minimum, there was no reprieve from the heatwave on Saturday night.
RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers warned the rapid spread of grass fires could catch people unawares.
“If those fires do start, particularly in those grassland areas, they’ll move really, really quickly,” he said.
“People don’t want to get caught in front of a grassfire.
“They’re different to a bushfire. They burn really hot really quick.”
Beachgoers are encouraged to socially distance today by keeping one towel-length away from people who are not part of their household.
At Manly Beach, in Sydney’s North Shore, the sand was yesterday partitioned to allow people access to the water.