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Hail and ice an 'unusual' summer surprise for Tasmanians in January

By James Dunlevie, Edith Bevin and Amy Hall, Sunday January 14, 2018 - 09:04 EDT
ABC licensed image
Hail on the ground at Orford, Tasmania, January 13, 2018. - ABC licensed

It is summer in Australia but someone forgot to tell Tasmania, where people have rugged up again as hail and ice blanketed the ground.

Fresh from a , hail fell in parts of southern Tasmania on Saturday and people retrieved their winter clothes as Hobart dropped to about 14C.

The Bureau Of Meteorology (BOM) in Tasmania went as far as describing the phenomenon of the ground being covered in ice during the Australian summer as "very unusual".

"I don't think we'd see that very often, but as you know, it has snowed on Christmas Day before in some places, and it's also been 37 and 38 degrees a few years ago, so we vary quite a lot here," explained the BOM's Debbie Tabor.

"We had a series of thunderstorms move through the eastern half of Tasmania, and there's still some in the north-east at the moment … and did produce some hail at various locations and that's what was seen at Orford."

"It was some pretty good thunderstorms, they were pretty close to severe storms.

Ms Tabor said the hail happened very quickly and was "very localised".

"We have got some snow at around 1,300 to 1,400 metres, in the highest peaks [on Saturday], really in the south and west of the state. But the hail usually comes out of thunderstorms, so it originates in a completely different way."

"From the ground up, it's coalesced and the higher it goes, the heavier the hail can be. The snow comes from a cold airfield, obviously — and the hail can come from either warm or cold."

Ms Tabor said Tasmania would see a ridge of high pressure moving over the state on Sunday, and "benign conditions compared to [Saturday]".

"Just some very light showers about the south and the east coast and mostly clear for the afternoon and then we'll see some showers coming into the west late tomorrow night.

"We've still got some storms up in the north-east as we speak, but they will sort of contract further northwards tonight and for tomorrow there are not storms expected," she said.

The BOM warned reduced visibility in rain, possibly heavy in thunderstorms, would make road conditions dangerous in parts of the central north, north-east and east coast forecast districts.


© ABC 2018

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