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Australia's got the chill factor

Max Gonzalez, Tuesday July 23, 2013 - 11:26 EST

By now, most of us would have felt the colder temperatures and hopefully by now, we would know that this is due to a cold, polar airmass that moved over southeastern Australia over the weekend.

Over the past few days, many places around the southeast experienced their coldest day or night in a long time. Williamtown in NSW had its coldest night in three years as the mercury dropped to -0.2 degrees in the early hours of Monday morning. Further south, Kiama had its coldest morning in six years when temperatures dropped to 5.4 degrees on Monday too.

Across the border, it was the day which was particularly cold as Ballarat only reached 5.6 degrees on Sunday, the coldest day in three years. Castlemaine, with only 6.4 degrees had its coldest day since 1997. For Melbourne residents, last weekend was the coldest in 13 years and across the SA border, just over a million people shivered through Adelaide's coldest weekend in 15 years.

This was the coldest and most widespread event of the season thus far with snow flurries dusting the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, The Brindabellas in the ACT and even Mount Macedon northwest of Melbourne.

To the dislike of most these cold temperatures were exacerbated by strong winds. Wind chill, a phrase we all hear constantly in our neck of the woods, is the perceived decrease in the air temperature felt by the human body (especially on exposed skin) when there is a flow of air. Ever heard of an aura? The reason being that the human body creates a thin insulating layer of warm air around it. Moving air, in this case wind, disrupts this layer constantly replacing it with new colder air. So the faster the wind blows the faster the surface of the body cools and the colder it feels.

Luckily for us, this polar airmass is gradually eroding and warmer temperatures are on their way. However, it will be good to remind ourselves, that even though an event such as the one we had might not be in our cards until at at least early August we are still in winter. Cold weather gear will still be needed until at least September, depending on how brave you are!

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2013

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