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Australia paying price for frost-free nights

Brett Dutschke, Tuesday July 15, 2014 - 12:00 EST

Much of each state and territory has been having its warmest nights in a few weeks but it has come at a cost - cold days.

A blanket of cloud, about half the size of Australia, is crossing central, southern and eastern parts of the country, keeping frost at bay but generating cold, gloomy, rainy days.

Most of the region, including Sydney and Brisbane, has had its warmest nights in two-to-four weeks, making some people sleep a bit easier after the coldest spell in a few years.

Parts of western Sydney were about 10 degrees warmer than the night before. Last night was Richmond's warmest this month, only getting as cold as seven degrees, compared to minus two degrees the previous night.

Cobar and Walgett in western New South Wales were as much as 14 degrees warmer than the previous night, which chilled below freezing.

The blanketing cloud, which is slowly moving east, is also keeping out the sunshine during the days.

On Sunday Alice Springs only reached 7.5 degrees, a whopping 12 degrees below the July average and its coldest day in four years. Monday was Broken Hill's coldest day in three years, only warming to 10 degrees, five degrees below average. Also on Monday, South Australia's Murray Bridge only reached nine degrees under cloud, seven degrees below average and its coldest day in nine years.

The cloud has now reached the east coast, bringing a cold, gloomy day to many places, including Sydney. By 11:30am it had not yet reached 14 degrees in the city or 13 degrees in Penrith and Richmond.

The offending cloud, forming as tropical moisture feeds a low pressure trough, will provide much of Tasmania, Victoria, NSW and Queensland with another frost-free night before moving off the east coast during Wednesday.

Relatively clear skies have already been unveiled across most of Western Australia and are about to do the same across parts of SA, increasing the risk of frost over inland areas.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2014

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