Blood red to pitch black in Jindabyne and Cooma ahead of change

Photo credit: Fiona Latham-Cannon @fortheloveofjindabyne

It’s been a long anxious day in Jindabyne and surrounds as residents who have stayed to protect property and support the fire and rescue services have waited for emergency alerts and the promised drop in temperatures.

Thankfully the town is not under any immediate threat from bushfire fronts (at the moment, though that could change). Temperatures have now dropped to low thirties and the region has been plunged into dark blood red skies and pitch black conditions. 

At the time of publication, there are four emergency warnings in the Snowy Monaro region where the window of opportunity to leave has now closed.  The out of control fire at the Adaminaby Complex, the Peak View area north of Bredbo River, the Doubtful Gap Trail fire in the Snowy Plains Eucumbene Cove, Braemar Bay and surrounding area and the fire in the Inaloy Trail area as well as the Snowy Valleys Dunns Road fire.

A “fire-generated thunderstorm” has formed over the Doubtful Gap Trail fire in Snowy Monaro. The RFS has warned that the weather pattern is “very dangerous”.

There is also a Watch and Act alert for multiple fires burning to the south of Mount Kosciuszko. The fire is currently 200hectares in size and is out of control and if you are in the areas of Thredbo Village, Little Thredbo, Bullocks Flat, Crackenback and surrounds, you are at risk. If you haven’t evacuated already, your safest option is to leave now towards Jindabyne via The Alpine Way.

Please check the RFS Major Fire Alert Updates regularly for up to date and official information.

The Snowy Mountains Magazine reports that “there is expected to be a wind change this afternoon. Currently Jindabyne has winds north to northwesterly 25 to 35 km/h tending west to northwesterly 30 to 45 km/h then tending cool southeast to southwesterly 20 to 25 km/h in the late evening. At Thredbo the winds are northwesterly 35 to 55 km/h tending westerly 35 to 50 km/h in the late afternoon then becoming light in the late evening.”

Thredbo village has already been evacuated except for essential personnel and fire fighters. This is a screen snapshot from the Thredbo webcam this afternoon of the Kosciuszko walking track. 

Residents from the lakeside town are posting imagery of the 4 o’clock sky as the world turns red orange with thick smoke and embers. 

Orange skies, but no wind and very little ash falling. Southerly expect within the hour. No immediate fire threats.

Posted by Rydges Horizons Snowy Mountains Jindabyne on Friday, 3 January 2020

More orange skies in Jindabyne as posted by Crackenback Farm Restaurant and Guesthouse.

Sky in Jindabyne

Posted by Crackenback Farm Restaurant & Guesthouse on Friday, 3 January 2020

This footage is from mid afternoon.

JINDABYNE – some minor ash starting to fall, sky orange and medium wind. Temperature has dropped as well.

Posted by Snowy Mountains Magazine on Friday, 3 January 2020

The shores of Lake Jindabyne now have an eerie glow.

Different kind of sunset view tonight ! #prayingforrain #staysafepeeps?

Posted by Design and Detail- Mountain Style on Friday, 3 January 2020

Meanwhile in Cooma the skies turned black.

NIMMITABEL NSWNo words for this, this is what broad daylight looks like in the town of Nimmitabel NSW a short time ago (just to the SE of Cooma) ??

Posted by Oz Cyclone Chasers on Friday, 3 January 2020

This video is from a pitch black sky in Cooma at 4.30pm from Fiona 

This morning I was good. But now…

Posted by For the Love of Jindabyne on Friday, 3 January 2020

“We are in for a long night and we’re still hit to the worst of it” said Premier Gladys Berejiklian at a press conference of the New South Wales bushfire zones today as conditions deteriorated in the late afternoon.

200104 1630 Media Conference

Posted by NSW Rural Fire Service on Friday, 3 January 2020

The southerly change is expected at 5pm in the South East region of New South Wales.

“It’s going to be a gusty southerly, volatile southerly with wind strengths up to 80kms or more on the coastal strip with a dangerous few hours” said NSW RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons of the worsening conditions across the state’s coastal areas into evening.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.