Wild weather in country’s north and south

WHILE the Northern Territory's Top End was on cyclone watch on Christmas Day, fire bans were declared in three Australian states.

The thunderstorms and damaging winds that have lashed Darwin are predicted to continue into next week and a flood watch has been declared for some NT rivers.

However, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts the low-pressure system behind the wild weather will turn into a cyclone only if it moves into Gulf of Carpentaria waters and gains momentum.

Cyclone Stan - its name if it forms - would be the first of the season.

Down south, four Victorian regions under threat from bushfire in the state's south were evacuated. Fire bans cover the south-west.

The Tasmania Fire Service declared a fire ban in the state's south, much to the dismay of those planning to barbecue their Christmas Day lunches.

TFS chief officer Gavin Freeman said BOM forecasts indicated temperatures reaching the mid-30s with northerly winds, meaning fires that started might be uncontrollable and fast moving.

Parts of South Australia were also under fire bans from the state's Country Fire Service.

The hot weather spread to Victoria's capital, Melbourne, which was on track for its hottest Christmas in 17 years, at 35 degrees.

Sydney and Brisbane were both enjoying sunny weather with temperatures in the 20s.

- APN NEWSDESK



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