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A trough is bringing rain to WA's northwest. A cold front is bringing showers to southwest WA. A front and a trough are bringing a few showers to SA's southeast, western VIC, and TAS. A trough with onshore winds is generating showers and storms off the NSW coast.

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Mostly SunnySydney NSW

12.6°C

11°C
19°C

Mostly SunnyMelbourne VIC

6.9°C

7°C
15°C

SunnyBrisbane QLD

14.2°C

14°C
23°C

Mostly SunnyPerth WA

13.2°C

11°C
22°C

Late ShowerAdelaide SA

10.6°C

7°C
19°C

Mostly SunnyCanberra ACT

3.6°C

4°C
14°C

Fog Then SunnyHobart TAS

5.3°C

4°C
14°C

Mostly SunnyDarwin NT

24.4°C

22°C
31°C

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Latest News


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Today, 3:08AM UTC

A climate driver called SAM

SAM is a climate driver of Australia which influences the weather of southern and eastern Australia. In fact, SAM influences the weather for many countries in the Southern Hemisphere, contributing to floods and droughts. SAM stands for the Southern Annular Mode. It is a secondary climate driver for Australia, whereas the El Nino Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole are primary climate drivers. What does the SAM measure? Around the subtropics, there is a belt of high-pressure systems called the subtropical ridge. SAM measures the relative position of these high-pressure systems. A positive SAM occurs when the highs are shifted southward toward Antarctica, while a negative SAM occurs when the highs are shifted northward over Australia. The SAM plays a role in the rainfall and temperatures because high-pressure systems direct cold fronts and moisture. SAM tends to be in its positive phase during La Nina, which was the case for much of the year. This has contributed to above average rainfall for southeast QLD, eastern NSW and eastern VIC and below average rainfall for western TAS, southern VIC, and southeast SA. Image: Australian rainfall deciles, January-April 2022 The following pressure chart from February 26th, 2022, shows an example of a positive SAM with the highs south of Australia. This setup contributed to the extensive flooding across QLD and NSW by driving moisture onto the east coast into troughs. Notice the cold front being kept south of Australia by the high, leading to reduced rainfall for the southeast. Image. MSLP analysis 11am EST 26th February 2022 However, the pattern recently shifted, and SAM entered its negative phase. The pressure chart from today (May 28, 2022), shows high pressure over southern WA and SA. The highs being further northward allows cold fronts to reach southern WA and the southeastern states, with several fronts and troughs expected within the next week. The strongest cold front is expected to impact SA, VIC, NSW and TAS from Monday 30th, which will cause widespread damaging winds, extreme cold temperatures, rain, storms, and snow for the Alps. Image: MSLP analysis 4am EST 28th May 2022 The impacts of the different phases of SAM are quite different. It also depends on whether it is summer or winter since the subtropical ridge shifts with seasons. SAM is expected to become neutral at the beginning of next month. However, it is not possible to forecast this climate driver beyond about two weeks. For more information, please refer to the BOM’s information page: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/sam/#tabs=What-is-SAM%3F

27 May 2022, 4:40AM UTC

Skiing on front lawns: Flashback to the famous May 2000 blizzard

It's the freezing cold snowy weather system that many Australians will never forget. The most unusual aspect to it? It happened outside of winter. In late May, 2000, a strong cold front laden with polar air surged northwards to southeast Australia, delivering snow to low levels rarely seen in any month of the year. Image: The May 28, 2000, chart shows a very deep low pressure system with cold air from far south being brought northwards. The the dashed lines on the chart (not the isobars) indicate rainfall/snowfall. Source: BoM Analaysis Chart Archive. Towns across New South Wales and Victoria that are usually too low for snow saw a coating of white. Gundagai, at just 230 metres above sea level, had snow on the ground. A couple of hours down the Hume Highway at Albury, snowflakes were widely reported at just 165 metres above sea level, although nothing settled. The storm is perhaps most famous for delivering snow to Canberra Stadium on May 28 during the Wests Tigers/Canberra Raiders match (which we wrote about last year). For the record, the stadium sits at just under 600 metres above sea level. On 28 May 2000 @RaidersCanberra & @WestsTigers played in the snow. The Raiders narrowly defeated the Tigers 24-22. Courtesy ABC News. Read more: https://t.co/Aa9Hmuf4gH#Newscaf30 pic.twitter.com/eye1pXr15j — NFSA -National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (@NFSAonline) June 25, 2018 Canberra recorded its lowest May maximum on record of just 4.3°C that day. Other capital cities also shivered – even Sydney. Your intrepid Weatherzone reporter was collecting door-to-door for the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal in Sydney, and while the max temp topped 17°C, that was quite likely recorded in the morning before the full force of the cold change blew through. Thereafter, the wind was as icy as it gets. By 3 pm, enough was enough. With numb hands and icicle ears, the warmth of a pub was the only sensible option. That's when the NRL snow game appeared on the television. Meanwhile up in the mountains, there was as you'd expect a serious blizzard. Mainland ski resorts reported a metre of snow on the ground by the time the storm cleared. But even in towns below the mountains which usually remain snow-free in even the best season, heavy snow had fallen. A resident of Mt Beauty, Victoria (elevation just 360 metres at the bottom of the road to Falls Creek) told Weatherzone that she was skiing on her front lawn, while snowmobile tracks lined the Kiewa Valley Highway through town. As we noted here recently on Weatherzone after the first Aussie autumn snowfall of 2022, May snowfalls don’t usually stick around till June and beyond. But this event was no ordinary May snowfall, and naturally, that metre base provided a bumper start to the ski season, with most resorts cranking up the lifts well before the traditional June long weekend opening. Skier traffic wasn't just limited to the slopes. Richard Tribe, who founded Australia's most popular snow industry website ski.com.au in 1995, said the event generated too much web traffic for the whole site to handle. "We had to turn off the forums, the classifieds, the snow reports and the ad-server (back in the day when websites ran their own ad-tech) just to keep the snow cams up and available," he said. "Our web server peaked at 25 times the normal load. This was a big deal in 2000 – when most people were still on dial-up. We didn't have a bigger single day of visitors until the storm dubbed 'Snowmageddon' in 2014." The winter of 2000 went on to be one of the best Australian ski seasons on record, with further heavy snowfalls resulting in a peak season depth of 262 cm at Snowy Hydro's official measuring site of Spencers Creek in NSW. We haven't seen a snowpack as deep since then, and perhaps in a warming climate, we never will. Image: Snow depths in 2000 vs 2021. Last year's season had a pretty strong start, especially in NSW, but it was nothing compared to the super early start of May 2000. Source: Snowy Hydro. But ironically, a lot of the snow went to waste that year from the point of view of businesses in the snowfields. That, of course, was the year of the Sydney Olympics, which ran from September 15 to October 1. The peak snow depth of 262 cm occurred on September 7, but by about mid August, everyone was focused on the lead-up to the Sydney opening ceremony – and perhaps saving their money for all the partying that went on during those heady two weeks. Even the AFL and NRL Grand Finals were held early, on August 27 and September 2 respectively.   Meanwhile back here in the present day, 22 years since the famous May 2000 snow event, the weather models are suggesting a chance of something similar next Monday and Tuesday, as we've mentioned a couple of times already this week. It's unlikely that next week's snow will amount to depths of a metre at the ski resorts (though they may get around half that much), or that snow will fall as low as it did in 2000 (the current forecast is for snow to fall to about 900 metres in NSW and Vic). But for snow-lovers, a May weather system that even faintly resembles that 2000 storm is very exciting news indeed. Please check our snow page for the latest.

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27 May 2022, 3:29AM UTC

Was that fog or mist in Sydney this morning?

Parts of Sydney were shrouded by thick fog on Friday morning, engulfing the Harbour Bridge and reducing visibility to 100 meters in some suburbs. The photos below show the foggy scenes across Sydney on Friday morning. Image: Sydney Harbour Bridge in thick fog on Friday, May 27, 2022. Source: @veganlifelover / Instagram Images: Parts of the CBD were high enough to poke above the fog on Friday morning. Source: @mia_and_the_outfit / Instagram We know the images above show fog and not mist because of a simple difference between these two phenomena: Fog is present when visibility is less than 1000 metres Mist is present when visibility is more than 1000 metres Ground-based sensors recorded visibility down to 100 metres at Richmond, 200 metres at Camden, 300 metres at Olympic Park and 600 metres at Sydney Airport on Friday morning. So, we know this was fog. What caused Friday’s fog? The air over eastern NSW is currently carrying some extra moisture thanks to the evaporation of recent rainfall and lingering groundwater from a run of wetter-than-average months. On Thursday night, this airborne moisture was converted from a gas (water vapour) into tiny liquid droplets (fog) when the air near the ground cooled to a temperature called the dew point. The dew point is simple the temperature air needs to reach for condensation to occur, and when there is more moisture in the air, its dew point temperature is higher. Clear skies and relatively light winds on Thursday night allowed temperatures to drop steadily across the Sydney Basin. By the early hours of Friday morning, the temperature had reached the dew point in multiple suburbs and fog became widespread. Fog also developed over other areas of eastern NSW on Friday morning, as shown by the slightly yellow shading at the centre if the satellite image below. Image: The widespread fog over eastern NSW on Friday morning could be seen from space. In Sydney, the fog developed in the western suburbs before being blown towards the city and coast by a gentle land breeze. Fog can be dangerous and disruptive when it affects transport networks. Unsurprisingly, a road weather alert was issued for all Sydney suburbs on Friday morning, advising motorists to take extreme care on the roads. With so much water still lingering in the landscape, fog is likely to be a frequent feature in Sydney in the coming months.

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Weather in Business


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08 Mar 2022, 11:43PM UTC

How has this heavy rainfall impacted the aviation industry?

It has been a challenging week across NSW airports with heavy rain, thunderstorms, strong winds and low cloud all impacting the aviation industry. This week’s heavy rainfall has been caused by another East Coast Low which developed in the early hours of Tuesday morning. This system caused heavy rainfall and flooding across Sydney’s Northern Beaches, with Allambie recording 120mm in 7 hours to 4pm Tuesday, March 8. Sydney’s southwest has also seen heavy rainfall over the Georges River, prompting an evacuation of thousands of residents. Sydney airport's largest daily rainfall total this week was 80.2 mm to 9am on Tuesday, March 8, followed by an additional 44.8 mm up to 9am on Wednesday. Does this rainfall affect aircraft? Weather can significantly affect aircraft operations. Thunderstorms, heavy rain, low cloud and fog can all reduce visibility at or around airports, often causing delays and disruptions to flight schedules. While heavy rain doesn’t usually affect aircraft directly when it’s in the air, the winds that can be associated with heavy rainfall or thunderstorms can cause turbulence and pose challenges to pilots during the flight. Heavy rainfall itself does not cause too many disruptions on the ground either, however associated low cloud, wind and poor visibility can. On Tuesday afternoon, Sydney Airport's visibility dropped down to 1000 metres, with much of the sky covered by cloud bases sitting at around 900 feet, as heavy rain moved over the area. While each aircraft and airport have different criteria in which they can take off and land in, the visibility and cloud height observed on Tuesday afternoon is likely to have caused significant disruptions. Bad weather not only affects the number of planes that can land but can also reduce the number of aircraft that can take off during any given hour, disrupting flight schedules and causing delays. During periods of adverse weather, aircraft also must carry additional fuel, increasing the cost of each flight. Heavy rain or thunderstorms can produce strong wind gusts, as cool dense air moves towards the surface with the rainfall or hail. These gusts create turbulence and may cause issues as the aircraft takes off or lands. The historic rainfall and flooding event in the last fortnight caused some runways in NSW to be submerged in flood water. The image below shows parts of the runway underwater at Gold Coast Airport on Monday, February 28 2022. Image: Flooding affecting Gold Coast Airport QLD, February 28 2022 Source: @phil_mobbs How can Weatherzone help the aviation industry? Weather has a significant and wide-ranging impact on the aviation industry, and poor management of meteorological elements can have devastating effects on safety, operating costs and reputation. Weatherzone understands the aviation industry and the complex and stringent requirements in place, as well as the need to ensure operational efficiency is maximised. We provide a wide range of products and services that suit airports (ground operations), small regional carriers and some of the world’s biggest airlines alike. Whether the focus is on ground safety, optimising schedules, reducing diversions or managing logistics, Weatherzone’s Aviation services can help. For more information, please contact us at business@weatherzone.com.au.

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14 Feb 2022, 3:00AM UTC

Ideal wind power week for the NEM

A series of low-pressure troughs and cold fronts will sweep across southern Australia this week, increasing wind power output in multiple states for several days. The map below shows a low-pressure trough stretching between SA, VIC and TAS on Monday morning, which was directing hot and gusty winds across southeastern Australia.   Image: Mean Sea Level Pressure (MSLP) at 11am on Monday, February 14, showing a trough sitting through SA and VIC. The highest wind gust recorded in VIC on Monday morning was at Kilmore gap, which gusted 67km/h at 11:51am, while across the border in SA, Cape Borda gusted 46km/h at 9:26am. These gusty northwesterly winds will continue over parts of SA, VIC and TAS on Monday, elevating wind power across wind farms in the National Electricity Market (NEM). Average wind speeds of 35-35km/h are forecast on Monday, with wind gusts peaking at 70-85km/h, particularly in elevated areas. The gusty winds are expected to ease from Monday evening, with wind power output expected to briefly drop. While wind will ease on Tuesday and Wednesday, the trough may generate severe storms across parts of VIC on Wednesday. These storms have the potential to produce locally damaging or destructive winds as well as heavy rain and large hail. A stronger cold front will then move across the region during Thursday and Friday, increasing wind power across the NEM once again as it moves through. The wind with this frontal system is set to be stronger than earlier in the week, with gusts peaking at around 75-90km/h. These strong and blustery winds will ease on the weekend as the cold front moves into the Tasman Sea and away from Australia. Are all wind speeds good for wind farms? Strong winds are usually great news for wind farms, because they allow more power generation. However, sometimes the winds can be too strong for wind farms to operate. There is a sweet spot when it comes to wind power. Wind gusts above 90km/h (25m/s) can damage the wind turbines and the propellers if they are spinning. Wind farms may have to turn the turbines off if the winds reach the ‘cut off’ wind speeds (25m/s) to ensure the strong winds do not damage the turbines. If the winds are too strong, wind power capacities may be reduced for lengthy periods of time when the turbines are turned off. On the other hand, if the wind is too light, it won’t turn the wind turbines enough to generate power. Fortunately for the wind farms across the NEM, this week’s winds are unlikely to reach the cut-out criteria, unless a severe thunderstorm passes over. This is good news for wind farms, with the turbines likely able to remain on all week, producing power. Where are the wind farms located in Australia? Australia is rich in renewable energy resources, with generation spread across all states and territories. The map below shows where wind, solar and hydro facilities are located across Australia, excluding the NT.   Image:Locations of most of Australia's wind, solar and hydro facilities. Wind power resources are abundant across most states and territories, with more being built each year. Weatherzone provides detailed wind power forecasts to our energy clients across Australia, for more information, please contact us at business@weatherzone.com.au.

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