Clash of seasons sparks up new fires

Clash of seasons sparks up new fires

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Storms did more harm than good at the state's firegrounds. Photo by Glenn Campbell.

Storms did more harm than good at the state's firegrounds. Photo by Glenn Campbell.

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Storms did more harm than good for firegrounds.

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The passage of a cold front and low pressure caused a volatile mix of weather across NSW on Tuesday, with showers, thunderstorms, damaging winds, raised dust, bushfires and snow all occurring on the same day.

The interaction of a warm air mass sitting over NSW and much cooler air moving up from the south caused showers and thunderstorms to form over central NSW late on Tuesday morning.

These storms grew into a broad band and gained strength as they moved north and east across the state during Tuesday afternoon and evening.

These intense storms prompted warnings and caused damaging winds, with trees uprooted in some areas. Wind gusts in excess of 100km/h were recorded in parts of the Hunter and Sydney.

In addition to the storms, blustery winds near and behind the front whipped up large areas of raised dust over the state's parched inland.

This airborne dust was carried across NSW and mixed with bushfire smoke in the state's east to further reduce visibility and air quality.

While the temperature reached 39 degrees at Tocal and Walgett ahead of the cold front on Tuesday, much cooler air in its wake caused snow to settle on the state's alps from the afternoon.

This created wintry scenes at the ski resorts less than one week out from summer.

Tuesday's fast-moving storms did bring welcome bursts of rain to some areas, although totals were hit and miss.

Unfortunately, the storms did more harm than good across the state's firegrounds.

Lightning strikes started a number of new fires, while gusty winds made these new and existing fires more difficult to control.

At 12:30pm on Tuesday, there were 87 bush and grass fires burning in NSW.

Just four hours later, there were 124 fires burning across the state, mostly because of lightning.

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