Cold snap brings snow and bitter weather to eastern Australia
Winter has officially arrived for much of eastern Australia, with an icy blast bringing widespread snowfall and sending temperatures plummeting.
The snow and cold temperatures was forecast to linger around eastern Australia until the end of the week, with severe weather warnings current in Victoria and Tasmania.
In New South Wales, the mercury was expected to dip more than 10C below average for this time of year in some places and come close to breaking minimum temperature records for June.
Significant snowfall was expected across the state, including in the northern tablelands for the first time in almost six years.
Senior meteorologist Gabrielle Woodhouse said “temperatures are generally going to be about five to 10 degrees below average and for maximum temperatures [on Thursday] we could see some places get close to their June record for lowest minimum temperature”.
“Last time we saw widespread snowfall up through the northern tablelands was during an event in July 2015, so it is relatively unusual.”
On Wednesday snow had already begun to fall in regional NSW, including in Orange in the state’s central west and Oberon in the central tablelands. Up to half-a-metre was expected to blanket the state’s alpine regions.
Strong winds and heavy rain forecast for the south coast later this week was expected to add add to the chill factor.
Dangerous driving conditions were also expected.
“As the wind and the snowfall combine, we’re going to be more likely to see some tree branches or trees or even powerlines come down. So this poses a risk to the community and something that we should be monitoring the world and take some precautionary steps ahead of the winds developing,” Woodhouse said.
Snow was also likely in Queensland, with temperatures dropping up to 10C below seasonal averages as well.
But it would feel even cooler than forecast, meteorologist Pieter Claassen said.
The Granite Belt could be treated to a sprinkling of snow on Wednesday and Thursday on peaks in the Stanthorpe region.
Tropical north Queensland was not spared either. The NSW Origin team would feel slightly more at home for the series opener in Townsville on Wednesday, with temperatures to feel like 12C at kick-off.
Victoria was also forecast to be blasted by the cold weather, but was facing damaging winds and potential flooding as well.
Wind gusts of up to 120km/h were expected in some places and blizzard conditions were possible about the alpine peaks on Thursday morning.
A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall was also current, with Warrnambool, Bendigo, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne and Traralgon in the firing line. A flood watch was issued for Gippsland and parts of north-east and central Victoria.
“It is likely that we’ll see those rivers responding to that significant amount of rainfall, the rivers may remain quite high for a number of days,” meteorologist Christopher Arvier said.
Flash-flooding was also possible across the state.
The weather should begin to clear out by the weekend, the B0M said.