Australia Day In Sydney 2020 Forecast: 70% Chance Of Showers & Chance Of Thunderstorm


We don’t normally cover the weather forecast in the week prior to Australia Day as the weather is usually near perfect on the day. However, the lead-up to this Australia Day has been anything but normal – tragic bushfires, hazardous air quality & days of poor visibility. Compare all forecasts & current/imminent conditions with historical Australia Day weather data at the bottom of this page.

Weather Warnings


Current Forecast

As of 4:20pm 25 January

  • Minimum Temperature: 23 Degrees Celsius
  • Maximum Temperature: 30 Degrees Celsius
  • General: Shower or two
  • Possible Rainfall: 1 to 6mm
  • Chance Of Any Rain: 70%
  • Fire Danger: Low-Moderate (17%)
  • Sun Protection: Recommended from 9am to 5pm
  • Ultra Violet Index: 12 [Extreme]

Sydney Area Forecast:

Partly cloudy. High (70%) chance of showers, most likely in the afternoon and evening. The chance of a thunderstorm, chiefly in the west. Light winds becoming northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h in the afternoon, then becoming light in the late evening.

Sydney Area Warnings:


Air Quality

You can sign up to an account to get air quality alerts via e-mail or SMS here.

This information is also available by calling the NSW Environment Line:

  • 131 555 (local call cost throughout NSW)
  • (02) 9995 5555 (if calling from outside NSW).

If the predicted Air Quality Index is 100 or more (poor, very poor, or hazardous) an air pollution health alert will be issued.

Air quality index data is based on ‘Sydney East’ region data.

  • Current Air Quality Index (average over past 24 hours): 190 (Very Poor)
  • Australia Day Forecasted Air Quality Index: Fair (67-99 Index)

Disclaimer: The data used in the compilation of this page have undergone only preliminary quality assurance checks. These data may require modification during final stages of validation as a result of calibration changes, power failures, instrument failures etc.


      • If you’re sensitive to smoke or have a pre-existing condition that could be made worse, please delay coming to the event early.
      • If you suffer from asthma, other respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis (also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD), or cardiovascular disease, make sure you have your reliever medicine handy & take it where necessary.
      • Asthma sufferers need to follow their Asthma Action Plan. 
      • For asthma sufferers, if symptoms get worse, you need to seek medical advice.
      • Don’t smoke indoors.
      • Take public transport.
      • Regularly ventilate your home to remove indoor pollutants and build up of moisture. Turn on exhaust fans, particularly when bathing, showering, cooking, doing laundry and drying clothes.
      • Don’t use wood-fired stoves and wood-burning heaters (fire places) in your home if possible. If you do use a wood-burning heater, follow the recommendations on this factsheet on wood-burning heaters to minimise air pollution
      • Don’t use unflued gas heaters if possible. If you do use an unflued gas heater, follow the recommendations on this factsheet on unflued gas heaters
      • Install a kitchen exhaust fan above your gas cook top if possible
      • Consider limiting burning candles and incense
      • Don’t use ozone generators for managing indoor air pollution or odour problems. Read this factsheet on ozone generators.

Very Poor Air Quality

Sensitive groups include:

  • people with lung disease or heart disease
  • children
  • older adults
  • pregnant women.

Sensitive groups should avoid strenuous outdoor activities

Other adults should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.

Fair Air Quality

People unusually sensitive to air pollution should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.

Others are are not likely to be affected when the Air Quality Index is in this range.

  • Visibility

This is the crucial data point as it will give an indication of how well you can see the day’s activities. The most relevant monitoring station (Cook & Phillip Park) is new so there is no comparison to previous data. See note below visibility index average over the past 24 hours.

Visibility is a good indicator for smoke.  While visibility is also affected by dust, the instrument is more sensitive to smoke.

Current Visibility (average over past 24 hours): 26 (Very Good)

Note: The Cook & Phillip Park visibility index has not been available since 3am the 21st of January due to scheduled maintenance of the monitoring station. The next closest ambient air quality monitoring site to there is Rozelle.  Return each day at 4:30pm AEDT to see if it is available again.

Fire Danger

  • Current Fire Danger Rating: Low-Moderate (17%)
  • Tomorrow’s Fire Danger Rating: Low-Moderate (17%)
  • Fire Weather Warnings: None.
  • Total Fire Ban?: None.

There is a precedent from 2003 that fireworks will be cancelled in the event of forecasted extreme/catastrophic (80%+) fire danger, a total fire ban & out of respect for firefighters.


Very fast winds are normally the only thing that can cancel the fireworks on the night. However, the lead-up to this Australia Day has been anything but normal in Australia with the tragic bushfires being experienced for nearly 5 months non-stop.

If there are very fast winds, it is expected:

  1. Any affected display would be ‘downgraded’. That is, higher & larger pyrotechnics would be ‘deleted’ from the display’s programming. If no pyrotechnics are safe to fire, the below events are expected to happen. Any delay could allow an ‘upgrade’ back to original programming.
  2. Australia Day Live would still be held but without pyrotechnics.

The ideal wind is one not too fast to risk safety but fast enough to blow away the pyrotechnics’ smoke quickly.

The wind forecast currently looks alright. Northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h winds are currently forecast from the afternoon to late evening. Though the wind is more likely to affect the late afternoon’s entertainment & ‘Australia Day Live’ more than the rest. While a chance of a thunderstorm is forecast for tomorrow, it is least likeliest to occur during ‘Australia Day Live’ especially the first 30 minutes. Probability increases during the latter 90 minutes. However, the chance remains during all other times of the day.

These storms could feature strong winds, which would be enough to cancel the fireworks of ‘Australia Day Live’. However, if a storm does not arise or does but passes before the fireworks, it is expected the fireworks will go ahead unless it arrives mid-display.

Pyrotechnic smoke affected areas based on this forecast include:

Shows visitors where pyrotechnic smoke is forecasted to go
Australia Day In Sydney 2020 Predicted Pyrotechnic Smoke Path (based on 25 January 4:20pm Sydney area wind forecast) Satellite Image: Google Maps

NOTE: On the 21st of January, we uploaded a predicted pyrotechnic smoke path which was slightly wrong. The pyrotechnic smoke was meant to head south-west instead of west-south-west.

Any pyrotechnic smoke should leave after a minute or two.


Prepare for rain. Currently, there is a forecast of a chance of a thunderstorm & a high (70%) chance of any rain/showers, most likely in the afternoon and evening with possible rainfall 1 to 6mm. There is usually about a 30% chance of it raining at some time after 9am on Australia Day. However, rain will not cancel any fireworks. In fact, despite misconceptions, rain makes fireworks look better.

Rain is most likely to occur around mid-afternoon & after sunset. ‘Australia Day Live’ spectators should especially be ready for rain. However a thunderstorm is least likeliest to occur during ‘Australia Day Live’ especially the first 30 minutes. Probability increases during the latter 90 minutes. However, the chance of a thunderstorm remains during all other times of the day. However, as you can read above, if strong winds feature in a thunderstorm, they could cancel the fireworks of ‘Australia Day Live’.

UltraViolet/Sunburn Protection

Ultra Violet Index: 12 [Extreme]

Sun Protection: Recommended from 9am to 5pm

It is therefore advised during those times to:

  • Slip on sun-protective clothing
  • Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen every 2 hours
  • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on wrap-around sunglasses

Historical Average Weather Data

  • Minimum Temperature: 21 degrees Celsius
  • Maximum Temperature: 26 degrees Celsius
  • Rainfall: 5mm
  • Pan Evaporation: 6mm
  • Sunshine Hours: 6
  • Maximum Wind Speed: 38 kilometres per hour
  • Air Quality Index: 29-80 (Very Good/Good/Fair)
  • Visibility Index (Rozelle): 4-17 (Very Good)
  • Fire Danger Rating: None/Low-Moderate (8%)
  • Sun Protection Recommendation Times: 9am to 5:30pm
  • UV Index: 15 (Extreme)

Sources: Bureau Of Meteorology, NSW Department Of Planning, Industry & Environment, Rural Fire Service & NSW Health

Disclaimer: Sydney Spectaculars takes no responsibility for your final choice of vantage point nor whether the event goes ahead. These are only forecasts based on official expert sources. The choice of vantage point is yours alone & the event is run at the discretion of the Australia Day Council Of New South Wales. The weather could change suddenly on the day & during the night of the event. It is a forecast after all.