Historic weather pattern sends a chilling message for summer as dry continues
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WANGARATTA’S 2019 spring was the third driest on record, with the two worst eerily preceding the catastrophic bushfires of Black Friday and Ash Wednesday in 1939 and 1983.

It’s a chilling pattern based on rainfall totals during the springs of 1938 and 1982 when only 21.1mm and 38.6mm respectively fell for the season in those years. The 1939 Black Friday bushfire on January 13 was fanned by hot northerly winds, burning three quarters of Victoria (almost 20,000sq/km), with 71 people perishing.

During the Ash Wednesday bushfires of February 16, 1983, similar weather conditions had fire destroy towns, killing 75 people and injuring 2676.Both fires, along with 2009’s Black Saturday, were preceded by severe drought when the bush and grassland was tinder dry, making it near impossible for fire service personnel to contain.

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