Changing NSW & ACT weather services

From 1 September 2010, the Bureau of Meteorology is responding to community feedback and implementing wide-ranging changes to weather services across NSW and the ACT. A total of 26 detailed 7 day services will be provided across NSW and the ACT from Bega to Broken Hill and Coffs Harbour to Cooma. In addition, the Bureau is working to provide 7 day summary services for over 60 locations across the State making sure that weather services are accessible wherever you live. These changes are part of an ongoing National Project to upgrade operational forecasting systems.

Improvements are being made across the following services:

City and Town Forecasts

Link to webpage containing map and list of locations receving 7 day forecasts in NSW and ACT.

Click map for further information.

The service will include:

  • 7-day descriptive forecasts for a total of 26 centres and 7-day summary forecasts for 68 locations.
  • Windspeed will be described in km/h. For information about interpreting windspeed, see the Beaufort Wind Scale.
  • Three new 7-day city area forecasts for Newcastle, Central Coast and Wollongong to extend the existing 7-day services provided for Canberra and Sydney.
  • The chance of rainfall and expected rainfall range for the rest of today and tomorrow in the Sydney, Canberra and Alpine Centres forecasts.
  • New presentation of forecasts to include a mixture of text and graphics.
  • All forecasts will be issued twice per day. See forecast issue times.

District Forecasts

Link to webpage describing the changes to the Southern Tablelands, Snowy Mountains, Riverina, South Coast, South West Slopes, Central West Slopes and Plains and Sydney Metropolitan districts.

Click map for further information.

In response to community feedback the Bureau is providing more detail about expected weather conditions across the State.

  • District forecasts will include more detail about the expected weather, wind and temperatures.
  • Windspeed will be described in km/h. For information about interpreting windspeed, see the Beaufort Wind Scale.
  • Fire Dangers included in forecasts will be based on the NSW Fire Areas. Each district forecast will include the fire danger for all NSW Fire Areas relevant to that district. People will need to know which NSW Fire Area they live in to check the fire danger most important to them. New Total Fire Ban products for NSW and the ACT will convey fire ban information from the Rural Fire Service.
  • Fire Danger forecasts will be provided for each Rural Fire Service Fire Area within the weather district.
  • Given the importance of sun safety, the Bureau, in conjunction with the Cancer Council, will now provide UV Alert on all District Forecasts.
  • Some weather district boundaries have changed including the Southern Tablelands, Riverina, South West Slopes, Central West Slopes and Plains and the Sydney Metropolitan Districts.

Marine Services

Link to information about the changes Marine zones, forecasts and warnings.

Click map for further information.

A number of marine service enhancements will be introduced in New South Wales to provide mariners with an improved level of service.

  • Some Coastal Waters forecast zones have been reconfigured or split into two new areas to provide more specific information for those zones.
  • Coastal Waters forecasts will include wind, seas, and swells for each day of the forecast. Previously sea and swell conditions were only available for today and tomorrow.
  • Sydney Local Waters will receive a webpage displaying highly detailed map forecasts for the next 3 days.
  • Coastal Waters Wind Warnings will include combined sea and swell heights to advise mariners of total wave conditions.

Forecasts for the ACT and Canberra (updated 17 November 2010)

Following feedback from the community, two forecasts are now provided for the ACT:

  • A new ACT Forecast comprising:
    • Descriptive notes on the weather situation and expected developments affecting the ACT and NSW,
    • Worded forecast describing expected weather across the full expanse of the territory for the next four days,
    • Point location forecasts for Canberra city, Tuggeranong and Mount Ginini to highlight the contrasting weather and temperatures that occur at different locations and elevations within the ACT.
  • The Canberra city forecast comprising:
    • Concise and relevant detail about the expected weather conditions out to 7 days for Canberra city and suburbs,
    • The "winds on lakes" section is replaced by the forecast windspeed in km/h for all 7 days. This windspeed is representative of the winds on the lake.The Small Boat Alert will no longer be issued,
    • Chance of rainfall and the expected rainfall range for the rest of today and tomorrow.
  • The ACT Sheep Graziers Alert will become part of a combined NSW and ACT Sheep Graziers Alert.

Forecasts for the Snowy Mountains Area

Link to map showing the new Snowy Mountains forecast district and Snowy mountains forecast locations

Click to view full map.

  • Traditionally confined to the Alpine areas above 1200m, the new Snowy Mountains district forecast will provide weather conditions for people living around or travelling to the southeast high country. This area formerly comprised the southern part of the Southern Tablelands district forecast. See also the details about changes to District Forecasts.
  • The Snowy Mountains District forecast will now include snow probabilities at three separate levels and a forecast for Jindabyne.
  • A new separate 7-day Alpine Centres forecast will provide details of wind, weather and the chance of rainfall and expected rainfall ranges for the Thredbo Top Station and Perisher Village area.
  • Based on community response, these services will continue to be developed in the coming months and years.

Agricultural Services

The enhancements to Bureau services will also benefit people living outside the major towns.

  • There will be 7 day forecasts for more rural locations, including more detail about wind and rainfall.
  • There will be improved information about the timing and duration of adverse weather conditions in District Forecasts.
  • The Bureau will consolidate the operation of the new forecasting system for a number of months before launching the second phase of the implementation. This second phase will offer a comprehensive graphical forecast service for the people of NSW and the ACT. Point and click forecast services will be available on a 6km grid out to 7 days ahead across NSW and the ACT, vastly improving the equity of service for people living in regional areas. See the Victorian Forecast Explorer for a preview of these services.

New Forecast Presentation

  • The 7 day forecasts will be a combination of text and graphics to help plan your week around the weather.
Example of combination of icon and forecast summary text

Technical Information for Web Developers.

  • Forecasts and warnings will also be provided via the Bureau's FTP site in a number of formats, from plain text to XML. Details about these products are available on the Data Feeds webpage.

Issue times of NSW & ACT forecasts:

Forecast Name Issue Times
NSW and ACT Forecast 4:30 & 16:30
Coastal Waters Forecasts 4:50 & 16:05
Local Waters Forecast 4:45 & 16:05
District Forecasts 5:40 & 16:30
City Forecasts 5:15 & 16:20
Town Forecasts 5:25 & 16:15
Forecast Summaries for NSW and ACT Cities and Towns 5:00 & 16:00
NSW& ACT Fire Danger Ratings 16:10

Note that if required forecasts are updated between the standard issue times.