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Blizzard warning for Victorian Alps as state braces for windy weekend weather

By Kathy Lord, Friday August 4, 2017 - 16:59 EST
ABC licensed image
Mount Hotham got 16cm of snow overnight with more on the way. - ABC licensed

Strong winds are expected to sweep across Victoria this weekend, prompting a blizzard warning for the state's alpine areas and forecasts of up to 100 centimetres of snow.

Two cold fronts were expected to cross the state, one overnight Friday and another stronger one overnight on Saturday, said Scott Williams, a senior forecaster on the extreme weather desk at the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

Both systems will bring cold and blustery conditions to the state.

"Through the weekend, but mainly with this second front, we're expecting up to one metre of fresh snowfall combined with winds gusting 90–110kph up in those Alpine areas, and very poor visibility," Mr Williams said.

"That basically constitutes blizzard conditions.

"[The Alpine resorts] have got a base now of 75-80cm so this will be a real dump. It'll be the largest, most significant snowfall of the season."

, but gusts of 70–90kph are expected and it is forecast to remain windy until Monday.

The heaviest rain will be in the state's north-east on the foothills of the mountains and around the south-west, including the Grampians, however the far north-west is expected to miss out on significant rain.

'Play it safe' in Alpine areas

Blizzard conditions — defined as very cold wind loaded with snow — are expected to be worst around the Alpine ski resorts, including Mount Hotham, Falls Creek and Mount Buller.

"But Hotham just tends to get the strongest winds, including the road leading up to the top," Mr Williams said.

While Victoria is not known for blizzard-like conditions, they are not that rare.

"Last winter we had several of these type of severe weather events," Mr Williams said.

" but Victoria didn't get off all that lightly either."

State Emergency Service deputy chief officer David Baker said anyone in the affected areas should be aware of the conditions and skiers should stick to marked runs.

"I think it's a reminder to Victorians that winter is well and truly still with us," he said.

"We're going to have a weekend of wet and windy conditions and obviously some focus in the Alpine area with the snow dumps and blizzard conditions up there.

"Ensure you play it safe up there.

"It's going to be big dumps, hopefully very enjoyable, but blizzards can pose particular dangers and we don't want anybody to go missing up in the mountains."


© ABC 2017

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