’Close your doors’: NSW’s power at capacity
The mercury is breaking 40C in many parts of NSW as a heatwave grips the state, and it's so hot the government has told residents to limit their electricty use as the state's supply nears full capacity.
Sydney Airport hit 43.3C at 3pm this afternoon according to the Bureau of Meteorology's readings, and a southerly change won't hit until early tomorrow morning.
By that time, the city had reached 41.3, the same as Holsworthy in the south west and Penrith had reached 42.4.
"The tight conditions in the electricity system this afternoon are largely a result of the State's weather conditions, bushfire impacts on transmission lines and mechanical issues at some of the state's power stations," Energy Minister Matt Kean said.
ALERT: weather conditions, fire damage to transmission & mechanical issues at some power stations led to tight conditions in the electricity system. Asking community to help reduce demand between 4-8pm by turning off pool pumps, unnecessary appliances & turning up aircon to 24*C— Matt Kean MP (@Matt_KeanMP) January 23, 2020
"The peak period for power use in NSW is expected to be between 4pm and 8pm, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and we are asking consumers to reduce their demand during this period where it is possible and safe to do so."
The government is advising people reduce electricity demand for a few hours this afternoon, by:
· closing doors, windows and blinds to keep the heat out;
· switching off non-essential appliances such as pool pumps;
· cooling a minimum number of rooms; and setting air conditioners to 26 degrees.
Sydneysiders should prepare for a restless night because it's going to be hotter than 30C until 2am.
The bureau says this heatwave is unusual in that it is hotter in the city's east than it is in the west.
"Usually a sea breeze sees the coast cooler than the west of Sydney," a spokesman said. "Today strong westerlies have kept temperatures hot across the metro area."
Parts of the Hunter have hit 43C and in the fire-stricken south coast the mercury has hit 40C.
Temperatures are expected to reach 40C in Nowra on the south coast, 41C in Cessnock in the Hunter Region and 42C in Bulahdelah on the mid-north coast.
Thunderstorm warning is current in the state's northeast. Wind gust in excess of 90 km/h possible with thunderstorms. pic.twitter.com/BYjGU0XDCX— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) January 23, 2020
The BOM says there will be a weak southerly change arriving early on Friday morning is predicted to drop temperatures to the mid-20s and bring possible showers.
There is also potential for thunderstorm activity from this afternoon onward.
Although fire grounds across the state have received rainfall in the past week, the NSW Rural Fire Service has warned forecast high temperatures and winds could see fire activity increase today.
NSW RFS spokesman Ben Shepherd said low humidity and very strong north-westerly winds have crews bracing for a potentially dangerous day.
"There is a broad area of severe and very high fire danger and areas of extreme fire danger," Mr Shepherd told AAP.
"All fire grounds have received some rainfall and that has greatly reduced some fire activity but we might still see some fire grounds pick up and move."
Total fire bans are in place in NSW for today in the greater Sydney, greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, southern ranges, central ranges and north western fire districts.
At 3pm there's 84 bush or grass fires across NSW with nearly 40 yet to be contained. Five fires are at Emergency Warning level. A southerly change is moving up the coast. It's not likely to reach places like Sydney until early tomorrow morning. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/74f1zIWxdX— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 23, 2020
Severe fire danger ratings are also in place for these regions. Air quality in Sydney on Thursday is forecast to be poor.
The Bureau of Meteorology on Wednesday issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds for parts of NSW's south and west.
Strong to gale force winds were forecast to continue today.
The BOM warned Thursday's damaging winds may extend to the southern tablelands and parts of the central tablelands, the Illawarra and south coast.
The warning comes after severe thunderstorms hit Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong on Monday, leaving homes and businesses without power.
As of 3pm, there's 84 bush or grass fires across NSW with nearly 40 yet to be contained.