Superstorm Sandy and the importance of polar orbiting satellites in forecasting

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:19 PM GMT on January 03, 2013

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On the 23rd of October, the 18th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Sandy, was born in the Central Caribbean. As is common for late-season storms in the Caribbean, Sandy moved northwards across Cuba. The official forecasts from the National Hurricane Center issued on October 23 called for Sandy to turn to the northeast after crossing Cuba, and head into the Central Atlantic. This forecast was based on the output from five of our top six computer models, which all predicted that an upper-level low pressure system in the Central Atlantic would be strong enough to pull Sandy northeastwards. However, the global weather forecast model run by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) showed a disturbing possibility: the upper-level low pressure system in the Central Atlantic would not be strong enough to turn Sandy to the northeast. The hurricane would instead get caught up in the flow associated with a trough of low pressure approaching the U.S. East Coast, and Sandy would get slung into New York or New Jersey on October 29. While the ECMWF model was the best performing model for tracking Atlantic hurricanes in both 2010 and 2011, and had done very well again so far in 2012, the American GFS model had outperformed the ECMWF model several times during the 2012 season. NHC elected to discount the ECMWF forecast for Sandy as an outlier, and went with the forecast from the GFS and other models. By October 25, it was clear that the ECMWF model had the right idea all along. More models were now showing the turn towards New York, and the official NHC forecast now called for Sandy to make landfall in New York or New Jersey on October 29. The ECMWF model's early forecast of a track for Sandy into the Northeast was critical for allowing additional time for residents to prepare for arrival of the devastating storm. So what enabled the ECMWF model to make such an excellent forecast for Sandy, six days in advance?


Figure 1. This image uses the model output from the ECMWF experiment, showing where Sandy was predicted to be located five-days out with the normal satellite data inputs into the model (left) and without any polar-orbiting satellite data (right). Both position and intensity forecasts were affected--Sandy stays out to sea without the polar-orbiting satellite data, and the closer isobar lines encircling the storm also imply a more organized and stronger system. Image credit: NOAA.

Polar satellite data: a key to ECMWF model success
The ECWMF has a very sophisticated technique called "4-D Var" for gathering all the current weather data over the Earth and putting the data on a 3-dimensional grid that is then used as the initial "reality" of the current weather for the model to use for its forecast. The old expression, "garbage in, garbage out" is a truism for weather forecast models. If you don't properly characterize the initial state of the atmosphere, the errors you start off with will grow and give a lower-quality forecast. Data from geostationary satellites, which sit continuously at one spot above the globe, are easy to assimilate, and all the models use this data. However, the ECMWF model's superior technique used to assimilate the initial data allows inclusion of data from a large number of polar-orbiting satellites, which the other models cannot do as well. Polar-orbiting satellites orbit Earth at an altitude of 540 miles twice per day, circling from pole to pole. Their data is difficult to use, since the it is only available twice per day at each spot on the Earth, and the time of availability is different for each location. According to an email I received from Jean-Noël Thépaut, the chief of the Data Division of the Research Department at the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the ECMWF model uses data from at least fourteen polar orbiting satellites: N-15, N-19, N-19, N-17 (ozone SBUV instrument only), Metop-A, AQUA, NPP (ATMS instrument only), AURA (ozone OMI data only), F-17, TRMM (TMI data), COSMIC, GRACE-A, TERRASAR, and the GPSRO data on top of METOP-GRAS. The data of most importance is the data collected in the infrared and microwave wavelengths, as well as atmospheric density data obtained via GPS radio occultation (as a polar orbiting satellite goes over the horizon, the GPS signals from the satellite get bent by Earth's atmosphere, with the amount of bending proportional to the density of the atmosphere. This GPS Radio Occultation data is gathered from eight polar orbiting satellites, and fed into both the ECMWF and GFS models.) You can find a nice summary of the impacts of polar orbiting satellite data on weather prediction models at this link.)


Figure 2. Forecast track error for four of our top models used to predict Hurricane Sandy, for their runs that began at 00Z October 25, 2012. By this time, the GFDL model had joined the ECMWF in predicting that Sandy would make landfall in Southern New Jersey in five days. The GFS and HWRF models made good 1 - 3 day forecasts, but failed to anticipate Sandy's north-northwestward turn towards the U.S. coast. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/GFDL.

As originally reported by the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, then confirmed in a NOAA press release, a study done by ECMWF research scientist Tony McNally found that if the ECMWF model did not have all of the data from the fourteen polar orbiting satellites, the five-day forecast of the model for Hurricane Sandy would have shown Sandy missing the Northeast U.S. This brings up a concern, since the U.S. polar orbiting satellite program is behind schedule. As explained by Andrew Freedman of Climate Central, the program is plagued by mismanagement, billions in cost overruns, and technical development challenges. The next polar orbiting satellite is not scheduled to be launched until 2017, and one or more of the existing polar orbiting satellites are expected to fail before then. This will result in a degradation of our ability to observe and predict the weather, and may result in poorer forecasts for storms like Hurricane Sandy. Given that the ECMWF model used data from fourteen polar orbiting satellites, the failure of just one satellite may not have made a significant difference in its forecast for Sandy. But if we lose several of these key satellites by 2017, our hurricane forecasts in 2017 may be worse than they were in 2012. To figure out how to cope with the loss of satellite-derived data, NOAA is conducting a Gap Risk Study that seeks ideas from researchers and the public on how NOAA can preserve the quality of its weather model forecasts in the event of the failure of one or more polar orbiting satellites in the coming years.


Figure 3. A tanker rests on the southern shore after being swept onto land by a storm surge due to Superstorm Sandy, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, in the Staten Island borough of New York. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

Links
Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle has an interview with Jean-Noël Thépaut, chief of the Data Division of the Research Department at the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, on why the European model did so well with Hurricane Sandy.

Jeff Masters

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Gene Blevins LA Times. This guy is one heck of a photographer
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WARNING UPDATE FOR FORCETT FIRE:

The Tasmanian Fire Service says The communities of Bream Creek, Copping and Boomer Bay are being impacted by fire now and it is now too late to leave.

Please leave for your previously predetermined Nearby Safer Place as per your bushfire plan. A safe place has also been established at the Falls Festival site at Marion Bay. Go to your Nearby Safer Place only if the path is clear.

If you live in Delmore Road area and you can not defend your property move to a safer place now if the path is clear.

The fire is currently in the vicinity of Dodges Hill and is now directly impacting on Dodges Ferry. It is now too late to leave.

The fire is now impacting the community of Primrose Sands, Connellys Marsh and Susans Bay and it is too late to leave. Carlton River Road is now impassable and not safe.

WARNING UPDATE FOR CARLTON RIVER:

The Tasmanian Fire Service has now issued an immediate emergency warning for a fire at Carlton River:

There is an extreme fire danger for this uncontrollable blaze at Joseph's Road, Carlton River.

The fire is expected to put the area of Dodges Hill Road, Carlton River Road, Oakines Road and surrounding streets at direct extreme risk from the fire front now.

Residents are warned to go to a safer location now only if the path is clear.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Without seeing all that water in the pictures with all those fires that looks to similar to South Central Texas with the droughts we have gone thru and all the fires experienced around here, fortunately not recently but I can relate to these photos. Best Wishes Aussiestorm.



Thanks
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting AussieStorm:

Yeah it is getting bad down here. But unfortunately it's going to get worse as this is only day 2 of 10 of the heatwave.

Enjoy your coffee, I'll enjoy my bowl of ice-cream.
Without seeing all that water in the pictures with all those fires that looks to similar to South Central Texas with the droughts we have gone thru and all the fires experienced around here, fortunately not recently but I can relate to these photos. Best Wishes Aussiestorm.
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Quoting pottery:
Hey Aussie, that looks like Bad Stuff down there.
Really sorry to see that.

Got home from the UK last night. Here it's still raining - mud, bush, standing water. Nice morning so far though. Looks like I need to get into 'busy' mode very soon. But first--- more coffee.

Yeah it is getting bad down here. But unfortunately it's going to get worse as this is only day 2 of 10 of the heatwave.

Enjoy your coffee, I'll enjoy my bowl of Ice-cream i mean Ice-block since I have run out of ice-cream.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting pottery:
Hey Aussie, that looks like Bad Stuff down there.
Really sorry to see that.

Got home from the UK last night. Here it's still raining - mud, bush, standing water. Nice morning so far though. Looks like I need to get into 'busy' mode very soon. But first--- more coffee.


Cheers!

Mornin' Doug!
Koala's.. thanks, now I'm blind too....
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G'mornin' folks. That looks bad Aussie. Now I'll have the image of Koalas burning in trees stuck in my head the rest of the day. Very sad for the koalas and all involved.

35.4F down on da Bayou Grande dis moanin'.
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Rain overnight in South Central Texas was disappointing, i just checked my rain gauge and maybe .001? There was some sleet and snow in Central Texas but mainly in hill country. Most temps are above freezing.
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Hey Aussie, that looks like Bad Stuff down there.
Really sorry to see that.

Got home from the UK last night. Here it's still raining - mud, bush, standing water. Nice morning so far though. Looks like I need to get into 'busy' mode very soon. But first--- more coffee.
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Morning everyone! Evening Aussie!


117. guygee 10:19 PM EST on January 03, 2013

Hey Guy!

I like your points and agree with them.. the funding is near critical, and in danger.

I do however, remember reading something about that specific program that Doc Masters is referring to. As I recall, there was indeed a big issue with mismanagement and lost monies. We need that program badly, and in the article, the fear was that the mismanagement would taint any further efforts at funding. Give funding critics, who are actually after the money themselves, a place to disparage the program.

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@DiscoverTas Discover Tasmania
looking from Hobart city toward Dunalley, night reveals the extent of the blaze on that peninsula.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
It's the koalas, I feel sorry for. Kangaroos have a good chance of getting out of there, but the koalas just burn in the eucalyptus trees.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Thanks for the blog Dr. It was interesting to learn about the 14 polar orbiting sats that I never knew aided in model input.
.
On a personal note, I was pleasantly surprised to see that we have a satellite named AQUA and another named COSMIC.

I liked the info about measuring atmospheric density.

" ... atmospheric density data obtained via GPS radio occultation (as a polar orbiting satellite goes over the horizon, the GPS signals from the satellite get bent by Earth's atmosphere, with the amount of bending proportional to the density of the atmosphere. This GPS Radio Occultation data is gathered from eight polar orbiting satellites, and fed into both the ECMWF and GFS models.)"

I think Guygee also raises an important point. The bread and butter seems to be at risk. I'd concentrate the fiscal message there.
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PHOTO: Smoke from a bushfire near Forcett towers over Park Beach outside Hobart (Twitter: Mic and Jo Giuliani)


WARNING UPDATE: The Tasmanian Fire Service is now also warning that the bushfire at Lake Repulse is now impacting on the communities of Ellendale and Karanja.

It is likely too late to leave at this point. Residents are instructed move to a nearby safe place as the last resort and only if the path is clear.

The communities of Ellendale, Gretna, Hamilton, Ouse and Meadowbank are at under a watch and act notice from this fire.


The coastal town of Dodges Ferry is now under direct threat from the Forcett fire(pictured above) and residents are being told to leave now only if it is safe.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
ABC Hobart Radio Live Audio stream
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PHOTO: A photo of the fires in Bicheno taken from the Tasman Highway this afternoon (Audience submitted: Bridgette Huddlestone)


PHOTO: Smoke from a bushfire rises over a Hobart neighbourhood (Twitter: Botonaine)


PHOTO: A helicopter dumps water on a bushfire in Epping Forest (ABC News: Emily Bryan)


PHOTO: Smoke rises from a bushfire in the Forcett/Copping area outside Hobart (Rebecca White)


PHOTO: Bushfire burning near Lake Repulse in the Upper Derwent Valley (Stephen Smiley)

2012 ABC
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Quoting ktymisty:


Good grief it has escalated quickly!

The terrain must be a biatch for those fighting the fires :(




Death reported as Tasmanian bushfire razes homes.

Tasmanian police say they are not able to confirm reports of a death but up to 65 buildings have been damaged or destroyed in a huge bushfire.

They say up to 65 buildings could have been damaged or destroyed in the small community of Dunalley, 56km southeast of Hobart.

They include the local school, RSL club, service station and houses, ABC television reported.

Around 15 houses at nearby Boomer Bay could also have been lost as the impact of catastrophic fire conditions in southern Tasmania begins to emerge.

Tasmania Police commissioner Scott Tilyard said no death had been confirmed.

'It really has the status of a rumour at this stage,' he told the ABC.

But as a police boat was being sent to rescue people taking refuge on the waterfront at the top of the Tasman Peninsula, damage to property was becoming clearer.

'Reports are of anything up to about 65 buildings may have been impacted by the fire and that is the area where there has been an unconfirmed report that possibly there might have been one life lost,' Mr Tilyard said.

Around 50 people were awaiting the arrival of the police vessel to help them evacuate but were safe, he said.

Huge plumes of smoke were visible from Hobart on Friday as the island capital sweltered through its hottest day on record.

Accompanying winds whipped up the two largest blazes that had started on Thursday; at Forcett, near Dunalley, and Lake Repulse near Mt Field National Park northwest of Hobart.

Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) Chief Officer Mike Brown said conditions on Friday had reached the catastrophic level in the rating system developed after the Black Saturday fires in Victoria.

'We reached catastrophic fire danger ratings at times during this afternoon,' Chief Officer Brown told reporters.

'I don't think we're quite out of the woods yet.

On a day Hobart hit a top temperature of 41.8C - smashing the previous record of 40.8 set in 1976 - up to 40 fires were burning around the state.

The TFS used its emergency phone warning system to ask residents to leave the affected areas and police said around 80 per cent had chosen to go.

Near Dunalley, the TFS said it was too late to leave the communities of Connellys Marsh or Primrose Sands.

Those at Connellys Marsh were being advised the nearby beach was a safer option for them.

Carlton River Road was considered impassable and Primrose Sands residents were also being told to head to the nearby beach.

The popular Port Arthur tourist area was cut off after police closed the Arthur Highway, isolating the Tasman Peninsula.

The second major fire, which authorities suspect was started by a campfire, is affecting communities including Broad River, Jones River and Ellendale.

Late on Friday afternoon, the TFS upgraded a warning for another fire near Bicheno in that area.

Campers were being evacuated and residents were being encouraged to act on their bushfire plans or leave.

A large grass fire at Epping Forest in the state's north was also causing concern.

A mild southerly change was due in Hobart around midnight after conditions considered worse than 2006/7 when houses were lost on the state's east coast.

The change is unlikely to bring rain but could ignite more fires with lightning strikes, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

'Lighter winds tomorrow and milder temperatures and higher relative humidities will be of help,' senior forecaster Malcolm Downing told AAP on Friday.

Hobart hit 41.8C at 4.05pm (AEDT), its highest temperature since record keeping started in 1883.

Authorities say smoke is likely to be visible for several hours and people sensitive to it should stay indoors.

From Skynews.com.au
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting ktymisty:


I see them Aussie and I'm near SYD

Where near Sydney are you?

Both are working? Me just link 1 is working, the direct from http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/
the Youtube channel still says error.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
There are unconfirmed reports one person has died and at least 65 properties have been destroyed in a devastating bushfire that swept through Dunalley, about 50km east of Hobart.


Good grief it has escalated quickly!

The terrain must be a biatch for those fighting the fires :(
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Quoting AussieStorm:

geo-blocked or not working?


I see them Aussie and I'm near SYD
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There are unconfirmed reports one person has died and at least 65 properties have been destroyed in a devastating bushfire that swept through Dunalley, about 50km east of Hobart.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting whitewabit:


1st stream won't play .. 2nd stream you get an error message after about 4 minutes with it trying to load ..

I get the error with stream 2 but stream 1 works no problem for me.



Smoke from Tasmania fires visible on Hobart Radar.

Radar loop
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172. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting AussieStorm:

1st link is to ABC news online stream.
2nd link is to ABC news youtube stream.


1st stream won't play .. 2nd stream you get an error message after about 4 minutes with it trying to load ..
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Quoting whitewabit:


not working .. first Link won't load ,, 2 Link opens to youtube video but won't play for me ..

1st link is to ABC news online stream.
2nd link is to ABC news youtube stream.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
170. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting AussieStorm:

geo-blocked or not working?


not working .. first Link won't load ,, 2 Link opens to youtube video but won't play for me ..
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Quoting whitewabit:


neither work ..

geo-blocked or not working?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
168. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting AussieStorm:
Can someone check if either of these ABC News links work?

Link 1

Link 2


neither work ..
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Can someone check if either of these ABC News links work?

Link 1

Link 2
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
I can not believe my bush fire forecast has come true. I was very afraid it would.

If you want to read my forecast go here
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting allancalderini:
I have seen pics of there and it looks delightful don`t you like living there?

I think we are either number 1 or 2 in the most expensive city to live in the world.

I left my hand held weather station in the sun. it's top temp, 46C or 115F. What the!!!!!
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting AussieStorm:

Why would you like to live in Sydney?
I have seen pics of there and it looks delightful don`t you like living there?
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4066
Quoting allancalderini:
oh ok I would love to live in Sydney lucky of you :)

Why would you like to live in Sydney?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting AussieStorm:

Sydney/Melbourne/Hobart it's 18:40
Brisbane it's 17:40
Adelaide its 18:10
Darwin it's 17:10
Perth it's 15:40
oh ok I would love to live in Sydney lucky of you :)
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Major Fire Update

Janies Corner fire


The fire is currently 5 hectares in size and is burning out of control.

The suburb of Green Point is not under threat however residents are advised they cannot leave the area due to the closure of Green Point Road.

People in the area should take advice from firefighters on the ground.

Firefighters are currently working from Green Point road in an effort to contain the fire. Firefighters are being supported by six aircraft.

Residents in the area should expect to see an increase in fire and smoke overnight as firefighters conduct a backburn behind Seabreeze Parade.

The fire is burning in a southerly direction and is generating large amounts of smoke. The Lakes Way will remain closed overnight between Sweet Pea Road and Green Point Drive.

This message will be updated at 10pm or if the situation changes.


Area where the fire is burning
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting allancalderini:
Hi Aussie how you doing? What time is in Australia right now?

Sydney/Melbourne/Hobart it's 18:40
Brisbane it's 17:40
Adelaide its 18:10
Darwin it's 17:10
Perth it's 15:40
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
x
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting AussieStorm:
Week-long heatwave off to a soaring start

A BUSHFIRE has closed roads near Forster on the state's mid-north coast, as NSW faces a week of soaring temperatures and dry, windy weather.

The Lakes Way is currently closed in both directions between Sweet Pea Road and Green Point Drive, just south of Forster.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews are on the scene and have advised residents to stay in the area. No homes are currently under threat, according to the RFS.

Six aircraft are assisting firefighters to control the blaze.

The Transport Management Centre has advised motorists to use the Pacific Highway as an alternative route, while those travelling to Forster should use Failford Road via Tuncurry.

Emergency services are at the scene trying to put the fire out.

Penrith is now Sydney's hottest suburb, with a temperature of 35.2C at 4.05pm. Bankstown fell to 27.6C at 4.04pm, Camden was 31.8C and Campbelltown 31.1C, just after 4pm.

Meanwhile, the southern states are already sweltering through temperatures in the late 30s to early 40s.

NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said there were 43 fires burning around the state and nine of those were not contained.

"We have got incidents happening all the time," Deputy Commissioner Rogers said.

These fires are located in areas ranging from Orange to Gloucester, Shoalhaven, Gundagai and Cobar.

A Skycrane has also been stationed in Wagga in preparation for the warm weather. The other Skycrane remains in Sydney.

"We are making sure we have got the resources where they are needed most,'' Deputy Commissioner Rogers said.

"We have also provided some aircraft assistance to South Australia and Victoria to help them."

A "superheated" air mass flowing from the deserts of central Australia will push temperatures well above 40C across huge areas of Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory into next week.

A seven-day heatwave is set to hit parts of NSW today, with temperatures expected to soar as high as 44C in the state's west - prompting warnings from the fire services and health authorities.

Firefighters are warning NSW residents to prepare for more bushfires this weekend with windy and dry conditions tipped for much of the state, along with the hottest temperatures in four years.

Deputy Commissioner Rogers says firefighters are expecting tough conditions over the next few days as the heatwave intensifies across inland parts of the state.

"We're coming from a 10-year drought where there was no fuel particularly west of the ranges to a record year where it has dried off," Mr Rogers told AAP.

"The next week of really hot weather is going to make it drier and drier to the point that it'll take a single spark and we'll have fires to deal with."

Mr Rogers says winds are also predicted to strengthen, making the likelihood of fires even greater.

"So it's fair to say we're bracing for difficult conditions over the next few days," he said.

Temperatures are forecast to stay above 40C in the state's west until Tuesday next week, the Bureau of Meteorology advises.

However, sea breezes are tipped to keep temperatures cooler in Sydney and NSW coastal regions.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Chris Webb says areas west of Dubbo are likely to experience temperatures not recorded in the state for several years.

"It will be the hottest run since 2009," Mr Webb said.

"The extreme temperatures are going to be on the plain west of the ranges.

NSW fire danger



"It's not expected to be record-breaking but it's extremely unpleasant."

He said coastal parts of the state would be "saved from the worst of it".

A total fire ban is in place for NSW's southern Riverina on Friday.

It covers the Berrigan, Conargo, Corowa, Deniliquin, Jerilderie, Murray, Urana and Wakool council areas.
And while the highest temperature in the Sydney CBD over the next seven days will only reach a maximum of 30C, the mercury is expected to reach 39C in Penrith on Tuesday.

Other parts of western Sydney, such as Campbelltown and Liverpool, are tipped to hit 37C, while Broken Hill and Tibooburra are expecting 44C.

The heatwave is set to last until at least next Thursday.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Andrew Haigh said a large mass of hot air sitting over central Australia would push temperatures up in regional areas of the state for an extended period of time.

"We're expecting winds to be fairly light and this means a quite large and deep air mass will be sitting in the same place for a number of days," Mr Haigh said.

"The sun will heat up the land and there is nowhere for it to go. These conditions do occur from time to time where we get runs of extreme hot weather."

The highest maximum temperature ever recorded in NSW was 49.7C at Menindee, in the state's west, on January 10, 1939.
Hi Aussie how you doing? What time is in Australia right now?
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4066
Quoting Tazmanian:



this year ??? this year this started dont you mean last year?
Yep sorry I mean last year.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4066
Week-long heatwave off to a soaring start

A BUSHFIRE has closed roads near Forster on the state's mid-north coast, as NSW faces a week of soaring temperatures and dry, windy weather.

The Lakes Way is currently closed in both directions between Sweet Pea Road and Green Point Drive, just south of Forster.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews are on the scene and have advised residents to stay in the area. No homes are currently under threat, according to the RFS.

Six aircraft are assisting firefighters to control the blaze.

The Transport Management Centre has advised motorists to use the Pacific Highway as an alternative route, while those travelling to Forster should use Failford Road via Tuncurry.

Emergency services are at the scene trying to put the fire out.

Penrith is now Sydney's hottest suburb, with a temperature of 35.2C at 4.05pm. Bankstown fell to 27.6C at 4.04pm, Camden was 31.8C and Campbelltown 31.1C, just after 4pm.

Meanwhile, the southern states are already sweltering through temperatures in the late 30s to early 40s.

NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said there were 43 fires burning around the state and nine of those were not contained.

"We have got incidents happening all the time," Deputy Commissioner Rogers said.

These fires are located in areas ranging from Orange to Gloucester, Shoalhaven, Gundagai and Cobar.

A Skycrane has also been stationed in Wagga in preparation for the warm weather. The other Skycrane remains in Sydney.

"We are making sure we have got the resources where they are needed most,'' Deputy Commissioner Rogers said.

"We have also provided some aircraft assistance to South Australia and Victoria to help them."

A "superheated" air mass flowing from the deserts of central Australia will push temperatures well above 40C across huge areas of Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory into next week.

A seven-day heatwave is set to hit parts of NSW today, with temperatures expected to soar as high as 44C in the state's west - prompting warnings from the fire services and health authorities.

Firefighters are warning NSW residents to prepare for more bushfires this weekend with windy and dry conditions tipped for much of the state, along with the hottest temperatures in four years.

Deputy Commissioner Rogers says firefighters are expecting tough conditions over the next few days as the heatwave intensifies across inland parts of the state.

"We're coming from a 10-year drought where there was no fuel particularly west of the ranges to a record year where it has dried off," Mr Rogers told AAP.

"The next week of really hot weather is going to make it drier and drier to the point that it'll take a single spark and we'll have fires to deal with."

Mr Rogers says winds are also predicted to strengthen, making the likelihood of fires even greater.

"So it's fair to say we're bracing for difficult conditions over the next few days," he said.

Temperatures are forecast to stay above 40C in the state's west until Tuesday next week, the Bureau of Meteorology advises.

However, sea breezes are tipped to keep temperatures cooler in Sydney and NSW coastal regions.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Chris Webb says areas west of Dubbo are likely to experience temperatures not recorded in the state for several years.

"It will be the hottest run since 2009," Mr Webb said.

"The extreme temperatures are going to be on the plain west of the ranges.

NSW fire danger



"It's not expected to be record-breaking but it's extremely unpleasant."

He said coastal parts of the state would be "saved from the worst of it".

A total fire ban is in place for NSW's southern Riverina on Friday.

It covers the Berrigan, Conargo, Corowa, Deniliquin, Jerilderie, Murray, Urana and Wakool council areas.
And while the highest temperature in the Sydney CBD over the next seven days will only reach a maximum of 30C, the mercury is expected to reach 39C in Penrith on Tuesday.

Other parts of western Sydney, such as Campbelltown and Liverpool, are tipped to hit 37C, while Broken Hill and Tibooburra are expecting 44C.

The heatwave is set to last until at least next Thursday.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Andrew Haigh said a large mass of hot air sitting over central Australia would push temperatures up in regional areas of the state for an extended period of time.

"We're expecting winds to be fairly light and this means a quite large and deep air mass will be sitting in the same place for a number of days," Mr Haigh said.

"The sun will heat up the land and there is nowhere for it to go. These conditions do occur from time to time where we get runs of extreme hot weather."

The highest maximum temperature ever recorded in NSW was 49.7C at Menindee, in the state's west, on January 10, 1939.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
South Australia continues to sizzle

Mellissa Mackellar, Friday January 4, 2013 - 15:06 EDT

After bringing record breaking heat to WA, the sizzling air mass is fanning across South Australia.

Clear skies and gusty northerly winds brought rapid heating to Adelaide today, with the mercury tipping 40 degrees by 11am and 44 just after 2pm. This makes it Adelaide's hottest day in four years.

So far it is also the hottest day since the summer of 2009 for Whyalla, Edithburgh and Hindmarsh and Parafield, which have all reached the low forties.

This heat comes after record breaking temperatures were recorded in WA on Thursday. The town of Eucla reached 48.2 degrees, 22 degrees above average and their hottest day on record. Meanwhile, a blistering 49 degrees was recorded at Red Rocks Point in the Eucla district.

Back in SA, these hot temperatures are combining with extremely dry and gusty winds to cause dangerous fire conditions. Relatively humidity has remained below 5% across much of the state and northerly winds have been gusting to 40-50km/h in some places.

This had led to catastrophic fire ratings for the Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and the Lower South East, while a fire on the Yorke Peninsula has recently been contained.

An approaching low pressure trough will sweep across the state's south this afternoon, reaching Adelaide by early evening. This will bring a gusty but dry southwesterly wind change, with a noticeable drop in temperature.

For Adelaide, Saturday won't be nearly as hot with a top of 31 degrees, however the heat is set to return on Sunday with temperatures forecast to reach the high 30s or low 40s each day until the end of next week.

© Weatherzone 2013
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Major fires threaten southern Tasmania

TASMANIAN firefighters' worst fears have been realised with catastrophic conditions in the state's south leading to the loss of property, most likely including houses.

Huge plumes of smoke are visible from Hobart as the island capital swelters through its hottest day on record.

Accompanying winds have whipped up blazes that started on Thursday at Forcett, east of the capital, and Lake Repulse northwest of Hobart.

Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) Chief Officer Mike Brown says conditions on Friday have reached the catastrophic level developed after the Black Saturday fires in Victoria.

He says he suspects houses are among properties destroyed around the small community of Dunalley, 56km southeast of Hobart.

There are no reported injuries.

"We reached catastrophic fire danger ratings at times during this afternoon," Chief Officer Brown told reporters.
"I don't think we're quite out of the woods yet.

"The latest reports we've got have been that there's been structural damage and structural losses in the communities around Copping and Dunnalley.

"It will be some time before we can confirm how much damage has been done."

Chief Officer Brown said it was likely some of the damaged structures were houses.

On a day Hobart hit a top temperature of 41.8C - smashing the previous record of 40.8 set in 1976 - up to 40 fires were burning around the state.

The 100 fire crews say they can't contain the two largest fires, which are causing most concern ahead of a mild southerly change due in Hobart around midnight.

The TFS has used its emergency phone warning system to ask residents to leave the affected areas and police say around 80 per cent have chosen to go.

The popular Port Arthur tourist area has been cut off after police closed the Arthur Highway, isolating the Tasman Peninsula.

Earlier, residents in the small communities of Dunalley, Copping, Boomer Bay, Connellys Marsh, Primrose Sands and Carlton River were told to leave and head to refuges set up nearby.

The other major fire, which authorities suspect was started by a campfire, is affecting communities including Broad River, Jones River and Ellendale.

Conditions are now considered worse than 2006/07 when houses were lost on the state's east coast.

Late on Friday afternoon, the TFS upgraded a warning for another fire near Bicheno in that area.

Campers were being evacuated and residents were being encouraged to act on their bushfire plans or leave.

A large grass fire at Epping Forest in the state's north was also causing concern.

The change is unlikely to bring rain but could ignite more fires with lightning strikes, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

"Lighter winds tomorrow and milder temperatures and higher relative humidities will be of help," senior forecaster Malcolm Downing told AAP.

Hobart hit 41.8C at 4.05pm (AEDT) on Friday, its highest temperature since records began being kept in 1883.

Authorities say smoke is likely to be visible for several hours and people affected by it should stay indoors.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Thanks for the blog Dr. It was interesting to learn about the 14 polar orbiting sats that I never knew aided in model input.
.
On a personal note, I was pleasantly surprised to see that we have a satellite named AQUA and another named COSMIC.
U can view the imagery as it comes off the satellite if u wish... some of the TC imagery that Patrap and wxmod post comes from that satellite. I think its sibling satellite is called.. what, Terra? something similar.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21592
Temperatures reach mid to high forties

Friday January 4, 2013 - 17:05 EDT


Towns across South Australia have sweltered through temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius with several local records being broken.

Wudinna has recorded the highest temperature in the state so far today with a top of 48.2 while the mercury climbed to 47.6C in Port Augusta, just short of a record.

Whyalla and Tarcoola both reached 47C while new records were set in Cleve and Minnipa with tops above 46C.

In the south east, Mount Gambier equalled its highest temperature with 43C.

Adelaide had its hottest day in four years with the mercury peaking at 45C about 3:40pm.


© ABC 2013
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting Tazmanian:



this year ??? this year this started dont you mean last year?


2017 Hurricane season will be interesting in what refers to prediction
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The Subtropical Jet sure is active. It has been raining here since 4PM along the coast of Tampa Bay.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



this year ??? this year this started dont you mean last year?

I think we all knew what allancalderini meant. Blog Police back on patrol, Hey Taz!!
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.