Australia

Despite helpful rain, parts of Australia are again facing extreme fire danger

Days after hail pelted Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, the fire danger has returned to extreme. Source: AAP

Days after severe storms and hail the size of golf balls pelted Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, eastern Australia is again facing extreme fire danger.

Two days after eastern Australia was lashed with storms and hail, Victoria and New South Wales are again bracing for severe fire danger. 

A weather change starting on Wednesday will push temperatures into the high 30s and bring strong winds with speeds of up to 50 kilometres in parts of the states.

Temperatures in parts of Sydney are forecast to surpass 40 degrees Celsius on Thursday with Penrith expected to be hottest at 43 degrees.

A total fire ban has been declared across all western and central areas of Victoria and in three areas of NSW as 78 fires continue to burn across the state. 

The hot weather comes after heavy rainfall and hail the size of golf balls pelted down on Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. 

"It's been merry-go-round weather over the last few days. We've gone from fires and storms and floods and giant hail the size of limes to fire danger escalating on our doorstep," Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Kevin Parkyn told reporters.

Hail falling on Melbourne
Hail damaged cars and properties in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.
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Victoria's Country Fire Authority is concerned the weather conditions could start new blazes in western and central Victoria, as well as flare-up current fires in the east.

Rain damages roads in bushfire-affected areas

The State Emergency Service has received 2,220 calls for assistance since rain lashed the state on Sunday afternoon, followed by another bout of storms on Monday.

The majority of calls have been for building damage, with about 300 for trees down and 250 for flooding.

The rain fell hardest on Monday at Gippsland's Mount Moornapa, which received 139mm, marking its wettest day since 2007.

The defence force has been helping to clear roads blocked by fallen trees.
The defence force has been helping to clear roads blocked by fallen trees.
Australian Department of Defence

Melbourne recorded 44mm of rain on Tuesday, which marked its highest 24-hour rainfall since 2011.

Lighter showers in East Gippsland and the northeast have helped firefighters fight the active blazes ravaging the region, but have also caused damage to roads and landslips.

But crews have managed to get roads open for residents despite the fire and rain.

"Sections of the Princes Highway from Orbost to Cann River and from Mallacoota to the New South Wales borders have been opened to local residents and people that get a permit," Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said.

"We're continually working on other sections of the roads to open them up as quickly as possible...but that could be a situation that will confront us for a period of time."

With 98 per cent of the initial assessment completed by emergency services, 405 residential properties and more than 600 other structures have been confirmed damaged.

The impact of flooding and debris running into waterways is also of concern.

"There's a significant chance for run-off today, off the ground, and for those streams and creeks to run quite hard with debris, rocks, sticks and the like," SES deputy chief officer Alistair Drayton said on Monday.

There were 14 bushfires still burning in Victoria by Tuesday afternoon, with all now at advice level, meaning they don't pose risks to lives and homes.

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