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Bureau of Meteorology warns NSW set for 'unusual weather event' this weekend

By Alison Xiao, Thursday August 20, 2020 - 14:15 EST
ABC image
NSW can expect a "quite an unusual weather event" this weekend. - ABC

Saturday is set to be the coldest day of the year in NSW with high winds, low temperatures and snow expected to hit parts of the state.

Jane Golding from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said a deep low-pressure trough was creating "quite an unusual weather event".

"This could be the coldest day with the windchill factor we've seen all year," she said.

Gusty winds in excess of 90 kilometres per hour are forecast for most of NSW.

In Sydney, Saturday's maximum temperature is expected to be just 16 degrees Celsius.

But places along the Great Dividing Range will see the coldest temperatures, including Goulburn, Canberra, Katoomba and Orange.

"[Those places] shouldn't see too much higher than 5C during the day and then when you add the windchill factor during the daytime, temperatures more aligned to -3 to -5C," Ms Golding said.

She said the temperatures in many areas would be between 8C and 10C below average.

Snow is set to fall at quite low levels, including areas just 500 metres above sea level.

"We think it's about 15 years since that occurred," Ms Golding said.

Areas along the ranges that don't normally receive snow are likely to see falls for up to 36 hours.

On the ski fields, Ms Golding said there would also be a higher than usual risk of avalanches.

State Emergency Service (SES) Commissioner Carlene York said the organisation had received more than 160 calls for help over the last 24 hours, as a result of the weather system.

She warned the community to be careful of fallen trees.

"It's particularly concerning for areas with recent rains and the floods we've had over the last couple of weeks is the root system becomes destabilised and it's more likely that large trees will fall over," she said.

Plenty of rain is expected after the "unusual weather event" this weekend, and the BOM has declared a La Nina alert.

"It means it's three times more likely to get more rain than we do on average, so we can consider there will be more wet weather coming our way," said Ms Golding.

"NSW has seen quite a bit over the last few months, starting with the fires, February floods, more floods in March and even in the last month we've had a few decent systems off the coast.

"NSW does see this from time to time, we've seen a marked change from drought to wet conditions."


© ABC 2020

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