Local meteorologist talks challenges of fire forecasting in Australia

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As bushfires continue to burn in Australia, some National Weather Service meteorologists have been deployed to help forecasters including one from Wilmington.

Incident Meteorologist Terry Lebo at the National Weather Service in Wilmington is helping the Bureau of Meteorology with fire weather forecasting for the specific fires that are actively burning.

He’s working at their office in Sydney, located in the state of New South Wales.

A typical day for him includes analyzing model data, developing a forecast, and then briefing those in field of any upcoming hazardous weather.

Due to the significant time change, Lebo is forced to use old model data to create a forecast which he adds is a challenge.

While he says he has never been to Australia, he has previous international forecasting experience which has aided in the transition.

“The biggest challenge is everything is opposite of what you are used to, so cold fronts come in from the south,” he said. “Warm fronts come in from the north. You have highs and lows that rotate in opposite directions than what they do in the northern hemisphere.”

Lebo was deployed on January 15 and will stay in Australia through much of February.
Due to the fires, more than 20 people have been killed and millions of acres of land have been destroyed. The state of New South Wales is the worst-affected state, with thousands of homes destroyed or damaged.
Categories: Local, New Hanover

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