6.1 Modelling the fire weather of the Coonabarabran (NSW) fire of 13 January 2013

Wednesday, 6 May 2015: 10:30 AM
Great Lakes Ballroom (Crowne Plaza Minneapolis Northstar)
Robert JB Fawcett, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Melbourne, Vic, Australia; and C. Yeo, W. Thurston, J. D. Kepert, and K. J. Tory

We will present high-resolution numerical weather prediction simulations for Sunday 13 January 2013, with a specific focus on the region of the Coonabarabran fire which started at around 1600 EDT on Saturday 12 January in the Warrumbungle National Park of New South Wales, Australia. The simulations show a complicated range of meteorology including weather features that affect fire behaviour critical for fire-fighter safety. Features such as thunderstorm outflow gust fronts are displayed in the simulations in the north-westerly wind ahead of the main wind change, together with boundary-layer rolls, mountain waves and sea-breeze-like wind changes proceeding inland from the coast. In addition, small-scale vortices are modelled on the main change: these lead to hazardous local spikes in the modelled forest fire danger index. Exceptionally strong north/south temperature gradients were observed over inland New South Wales on the Sunday and these are also seen in the simulations.
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