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Frost, fronts and snow bring a taste of winter to Victoria

Press Release, Tuesday May 10, 2011 - 10:36 EST

Melbourne has just shivered through its coldest May night in three years, with the temperature plummeting to just 3.5 degrees in the city, according to weatherzone.com.au. At about sunrise the wind chill made it feel like 1.5 degrees.

It was even colder in the suburbs, with frosts and sub-zero temperatures around Viewbank and Coldstream. Coldstream was the coldest spot at -1, although Viewbank wasn't too far off at -0.3 degrees.

"The freezing night was the result of clearing skies and easing winds in the wake of a cold front which crossed Victoria during Sunday and Monday," said Alex Zadnik, Senior Meteorologist at Weatherzone. "The ground loses heat rapidly through the night, cooling the air directly above it. Light winds allow this developing cold slab of air near the ground to remain undisturbed, with little mixing of the slightly warmer air above," he continued.

The cold front also delivered some light snow falls to Alpine regions during Monday, with a thin blanket on the ground at most resorts.

For Victorians, this is just a taste of what's to come, with an even stronger blast of cold air moving across the state during Tuesday night and Wednesday. This next front will bring showers, small hail and thunder to Melbourne, along with the risk of snow over elevated areas such as the Dandenong Ranges and Mt Macedon. Alpine resorts are also in for a renewed burst of snow, with the potential for 10-20cm to accumulate by the end of the week. This comes precisely one month out from the official start of the snow season, raising hopes of some decent skiing in June.

"While it's too early to be sure of a good snow season, computer model guidance from Weatherzone is pointing towards better than usual conditions," said Mr Zadnik. "These early snowfalls are definitely welcome, as are the cold conditions through the Alpine resorts," he continued.

Falls Creek saw a low of minus five degrees this morning, which was six below average and the coldest May morning in five years. Mount Hotham had its third night in a row with temperatures below freezing. The mercury dropped to minus five degrees this morning, its coldest morning for May since 2006.

The outlook for Melbourne over coming days is for a continuation of very cold conditions. Wednesday is going to be bitterly cold, with the temperature struggling to 14 degrees at best. The combination of showers and strong winds is going to make it feel even colder than the advertised temperature. A persistent southwest airstream in the wake of the front is going to keep temperatures in the mid teens right though until the weekend. An easing of winds and clearing skies late in the weekend will mean some more cold mornings, so it's definitely time to get the heaters out and your warmest winter clothes ready.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2011

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