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NSW RFS assessments put numbers to a tragic event
Assessments of recent bushfires by the NSW RFS paint a sad picture in hard figures of the human losses caused by bushfires across NSW during the past week.
An assessment of last weekend's fires released yesterday, which did not include the major fire at Carwoola, 10km E of Queanbeyan, shows that 45 homes were destroyed of which 35 were in the St Ivan fire east of Dunedoo and six in the Pappinbarra fire W of Port Macquarie. A church and community hall were also destroyed in the St Ivan fire. Fourteen homes were damaged and 153 outbuildings destroyed. Of these, 11 homes and 131 outbuildings were in the St Ivan fire.
The Department of Primary Industries estimates that 2,000 sheep and 400 cattle were lost and an estimated 5,700km of fencing affected.
An initial assessment for the Carwoola fire, released yesterday evening, confirms that 11 homes were destroyed and 12 damaged, with 45 outbuildings destroyed and 40 damaged. This is lower than the 15 destroyed homes given in earlier estimates before full inspections could be made. The fire has been brought under control, thanks to milder weather, some rain and much hard work by volunteer firefighters.
That brings the numbers for the event to 56 homes destroyed, 26 homes damaged and 198 outbuildings destroyed. A Major Fire Update released by the RFS at 08.27 today said that the Carwoola fire had burnt through about 3,100 hectares or 31 square km. Up to this afternoon, $28.5 million in claims had been lodged with insurance companies, a figure which is expected to rise.
Severe thunderstorms cross Sydney for second day in a row
Violent storms again swept across central coastal parts of NSW on Saturday 18 February. Three storms moving at a rapid 60km/h arrived from the WNW during the middle and late afternoon, one moving from Bowral to the Illawarra coast, a second from near Mount Victoria to Sydney's northern suburbs around Hornsby and a third across the Central Coast and Hunter.
The Sydney storm moved through Rouse Hill, Kellyville, Thornleigh and Hornsby to St Ives with hail causing damage to cars, roofs and trees. A retirement home in Glenhaven had "significant damage" to its roof, the State Emergency Service told SBS. A Bureau forecaster, who called it a "very dangerous storm" told The Guardian the Bureau had received reports of golf ball and potentially even cricket ball-sized hail around Hornsby and Thornleigh, as well as Bowral. This southern storm also hospitalised three women after they were struck by lightning in a Bowral park. Thunderstorms that moved across the Central Coast and Hunter Valley gave the area heavy rain. The band of storms ran as far north as the QLD border.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) told ABC News that 12,000 claims for the two days' hailstorms had already been lodged with damages estimated at $31 million. The ICA has declared the hailstorm a "catastrophe" with damage mostly to cars and roofs of houses, and the number of claims is expected to rise.
Australian weather briefs
- The tropical depression that continues to meander around the southern Gulf of Carpentaria has crossed over the coast to the NW of Centre Island and is expected to develop into a category 1 Tropical Cyclone overnight or during the morning of Monday 20 February as it moves north. It is then likely to loop back to the south, crossing the coast near the NT/QLD border. In the 24 hours to 09.00 local time today, Sweer Island QLD recorded 168mm and a gauge on the McArthur River at Borroloola NT 216mm. The Sweer Island rainfall as well as 135.6mm at Burketown are February records in the short history of those two stations. As with all Tropical Cyclones, the situation is difficult to forecast, and those in the area should watch BoM warnings. These along with forecast track maps and a very detailed technical bulletin are centralised on the BoM's Current Tropical Cyclone page.
Recent weather briefs - Asia
- Heavy rain, strong winds, flooding and landslides beset eastern Indonesia a week ago. On Bali, 12 people died after heavy rain from 8 to 10 February triggered landslides, reports Associated Press. To the east, on West Nusa Tenggara, five days of heavy, continuous rain from 6 to 11 February affected over 40,000 people with some areas badly flooded according to Floodlist, which also gives a detailed account of the more widespread problems in eastern Indonesia.