The smoke from the fires has been so thick it was visible on the Bureau of Meteorology radars before 9am.
One Twitter user posted a comparison of the sky from Melbourne to Brisbane.
— Matthew Sweet (@msweet) December 18, 2019
Smoke is already visible on radars, outlined in red. The particles in the smoke plumes look similar on radar imagery to rainfall. Check the radars and satellite pics to see where the smoke is most extensive. #nswweather #nswfires https://t.co/t06EL3Zhrk https://t.co/ZajCOcH9cw pic.twitter.com/i6POwRMGfN
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 18, 2019
While Sydney’s air quality isn’t as bad as it was on December 9 – when thick bushfire smoke threw the city into chaos – the air quality index (AQI) was still deemed as “hazardous”. A hazardous reading is anything above 200.
Between 11am and noon today, parts of Sydney’s AQI were more than three times the hazardous level with the city’s southwest hitting levels above 700.
uh oh what’s this? a cheeky little #sydneysmoke update
little uh yellow out here today huh pic.twitter.com/9c31zFkoIU
— Merry Dakmas (@DakoaYeen) December 19, 2019
Readings for the P2.5 particles, the ones that can enter the bloodstream and have health impacts, are also unhealthy.
In Camden, in the west of Sydney and near the Green Wattle Creek fire, P2.5 readings are close to 200. A good reading, where no health impacts are expected, is typically under 100.
#SydneySmoke is also trending on Twitter with thousands of people sharing pictures of the hazy city.
— Adam Marsters (@AdamMarsters) December 19, 2019
— Hair Romance (@HairRomance) December 19, 2019
Sydney was brought to its knees on December 9 when thick bushfire smoke blew into the city’s basin.
Offices around the CBD were evacuated as the conditions caused dozens of fire alarms to go off and the smoke wreaked havoc with public transport as well.
Ferries were cancelled due to poor visibility and fire alarms went off at stations, causing Opal card readers to become inactive.
That day, Sydney’s air quality index had deteriorated to a staggering extent, exceeding 2000 in some areas.