The start of summer has presented weather of various extremes in some areas of Australia, with bushfires and snow present across different parts of New South Wales.
On Monday morning authorities warned of “dangerous” conditions across the east coast, with 126 fires blazing as of 9am.
The New South Rural Fire Service advised “strong winds” are forecast for later in the day, with total fire bans in place for the Greater Hunter, New England and Far North Coast regions.
An emergency warning was also issued for locals as a Shoalhaven fire quickly doubled in size in the early hours of the morning, while the Blue Mountain area has also been affected by flames.
The Bureau of Meteorology said “damaging winds” are expected for the Hunter, Illawarra, Northern Tablelands, parts of the Mid North Coast, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands.
Other areas have seen cold snaps kick in for the start of the season, with heavy snow in the NSW alpine region, and more snow forecast till at least Wednesday.
Last week the Bureau of Meteorology warned Auastralia could expect more heatwaves and little rain in the east during the summer following one of the driest springs ever.
“We’ve already seen significant bushfire activity during spring, and the outlook for drier and warmer than average conditions will maintain that heightened risk over the coming months,” the bureau’s head of long-range forecasts, Andrew Watkins, said in a statement.
The hot, dry spring led to an early start to Australia’s bushfire season, with people killed and more than 500 homes destroyed since September. Fire authorities have warned there is worse to come.
The forecast offered no relief to Australia’s devastated farming sector, with the country’s largest and most lucrative crop, wheat, facing the worst damage in the third straight year of drought.
Temperatures across most of the country are highly likely to be warmer than average during the day and night, the bureau said.
“This outlook also means the risk of heatwaves is increased,” Watkins said.
With additional reporting by Sonali Paul (Reuters)