Tuesday 31 December 2019

New Year’s Eve Fireworks (Updated).

Fireworks began early today. It’s beyond the scope of this post to provide an extensive coverage. Here I offer only a few highlights.

Mallacoota, Victoria, at about 0733 AEDT:


A little later during the day:


Four thousand people, tourists and locals alike, were trapped on a small beach head around Mallacoota, northeast Victoria, near the NSW border. According to media reports, temperatures reached 49ºC. With no means of escape other than whatever boats they had at hand, a wind change saved them at the last moment (whether that was God’s doing, as a witness suggested, or there was at least one Irishman among the tourists, is anyone’s guess).

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called on the Australian Defence Forces to evacuate the area, by air or sea. The operation is due tomorrow.

Update (01-01-2020):

This photo has become emblematic of the events at Mallacoota:



Similar circumstances affected towns across Victoria’s northern borders. This was Batemans Bay in the South Coast of NSW early today:


The same picture, Google Maps version:


Dozens of buildings have been destroyed. We are not talking, however, about isolated structures scattered over the bush, but about virtually entire small towns. The NSW South Coast is without electricity and telecommunications. Transport by land is irregular, if at all possible.


Fires extended to Tasmania, across the Bass Strait:


Three fatalities were confirmed, all of them in NSW. One of them was RFS volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul, 28. His wife Megan is expecting their first child.


Superintendent Patrick Westwood, from the NSW RFS, explained the circumstances of McPaul’s death:
“The crew decided to move away from that area and, quite unexpectedly, very suddenly, they experienced extreme winds and what could only be described as a fire tornado that lifted the back of the truck [said to weight 8 tonnes], fully inverted it and landed it on its roof, trapping three people, three crew that is, and unfortunately, one of them fatally.”

As I write this (2153 AEDT), there are 143 fires in NSW alone. In decreasing order of risk: 5 at emergency warning level, 5 at watch and act, 95 at advice and 38 not applicable. One of the fires, the Hyland Rd fire, south of Blacktown and west of Parramatta, is within the Sydney urban area. It started a few hours ago and has devastated some 10 ha, but was just downgraded to advice level (the blue icon below).

Temperature has fallen to 22.7ºC, with gusty southerly winds. Air quality tonight (2000 AEDT) was 156 for Sydney East, 259 for Northwest and 837 for Southwest as measured by the Air Quality Index calculated by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment. Values above 150 denote very poor air quality; above 200 denote hazardous air quality.


The demonic madman occupying Kirribilli House showed his odious face on the telly to say that Australia has faced situations like this, when it is clear nothing like this has ever happened.

Then, Scott Morrison repeats his latest mantra: we live in the most amazing country in the world; yet the hypocritical imbecile does nothing real to stop the same amazing country going up in flames. Instead, they keep relentlessly lying about Australia doing its bit in reducing GHGs emissions and blaming the fires on everything from a false lack of back burning down to “self combusting piles of manure”, anything at all before admitting that unprecedented bush fires are extreme weather events implied by anthropogenic climate change, product, among other things, of the coal and natural gas Australian miners sell overseas to great profit.

Go to hell, Morrison.

In all fairness, however, and from where I stand, the difference between Morrison and Clover Moore seems more a matter of degree than of substance, but I could be mistaken.

So, this is the situation as I see it: either I am crazy, or the whole world lost its mind. Frankly, I’d rather have the former, but -- in all honesty -- I fear we have the latter.

Tourists keen on a sneak peek at the end of civilisation could consider visiting Australia.

UPDATE (01-01-2019 0842 AEDT):

A second advice level fire reported within the Sydney urban area: Coolalie Place, midway between Manly and Frenchs Forest.

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