NSW in grip of heatwave
Catastrophic fire danger and blackouts were predicted in NSW as soaring temperatures swept across the state.
CATASTROPHIC fire danger and blackouts were predicted in NSW as soaring temperatures swept across the state.
Extreme heat meant there was unprecedented demand on the state’s power network and the NSW government was pleading for residents to limit their energy use yesterday afternoon.
Western Sydney was tipped to reach 44C yesterday with the city forecast for a cooler 38C.
The western Riverina town of Hay had reached 47C by yesterday afternoon.
Sydney would get no relief over the weekend with high 30s and low 40s forecast across the city.
The Hunter region would cop the brunt of the extreme heat through the weekend with Singleton and Cessnock topping the predicted temperatures with 46C today and 43C tomorrow.
Hardest hit would be towns in the state’s far north and west including Bourke and Ivanhoe – tipped to reach 47C and 48C on the weekend.
NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin said the state was experiencing a record demand for power.
The Australian Energy Market Operator forecast NSW demand to reach about 14,700 megawatts – the highest-ever demand in the state.
A very high fire danger covered much of the state with Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons saying the weekend would be “very difficult” for firefighters.
With temperatures tipped to rise above 40C there was a state-wide total fire ban in place for today and tomorrow.
“No fires out in the open,” the RFS announced yesterday.
Mr Fitzsimmons warned of a potential “catastrophic” fire danger warning tomorrow, “largely around the Hunter, from the coast, mid-north coast, out through the Central Tablelands, the top end of the greater Sydney region and out to the central west”.
Residents should have their bushfire survival plans ready.
“We need everybody in these most-at-risk areas to do their part,” he said.
The state’s Forestry Corporation has closed all forests between Sydney and Kempsey in the state’s north, along with forests in the Pilliga region and the Talleganda State Forest on the Southern Tablelands, with the situation to be reassessed for tomorrow.
NSW residents are advised to stay out of the heat, with Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant suggesting people take refuge in airconditioned shopping centres and movie theatres.
Health experts are reminding people to stay hydrated and to wear sunscreen.
“Those most at risk of heat-related illnesses are babies and young children, pregnant and nursing mothers and people over 65 years, who should all avoid being outdoors in extreme heat,” Primary Health Care’s Dr John Houston said.
THOSE MOST AT RISK OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESSES ARE BABIES AND YOUNG CHILDREN, PREGNANT AND NURSING MOTHERS AND PEOPLE OVER 65 YEARS DR JOHN HOUSTON