Weather News

Icy blast as two low pressure systems bring snow, rain, hail and frost to southern Australia

By Kate Doyle, Tuesday August 4, 2020 - 12:53 EST
ABC image
There was just enough snow left at 7:30 this morning at Ferny Creek in the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria to build a tiny snowman. - ABC

At least if you are stuck inside at the moment the weather is doing its best to be uninviting.



Two low pressure systems are sweeping across the country this week, bringing snow, frost, hail and widespread rain to southern Australia.

Diana Eadie, from the Bureau of Meteorology's extreme weather desk, said the first complex low to hit the south east would bring snowy conditions.

"That's going to fling a series of cold fronts over the area, bringing a good amount of snow," she said.

"It's definitely looking like a favourable set-up for snow.

"In fact, we could see snow levels drop to unusually low levels for large parts of the south east."



Snow was expected to fall from Monday evening in Tasmania as low as 100 metres above sea level.

Snow down to 400m for Victoria and alpine areas in New South Wales is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ms Eadie said it was "welcome news".



"A lot of alpine areas haven't really seen all that much snow so far this season," she said.

But it's not just alpine regions that are expected to see snoMw.

Ms Eadie said there may be snowfall in the Dandenong Ranges, Mt Macedon and Ballarat, as well as the hills around Canberra and the elevated suburbs of Hobart.



'Exceptionally cold'

By the middle of the week maximum temperatures across much of the south east are expected to be around about 6 degrees Celsius below average for this time of year.

"Temperatures in the single digits for large parts of Tasmania, and even southern parts of Victoria just clipping up into the low teens," Ms Eadie said.

"Of course that'll be compounded by that windchill as well, with an increase in the southerly winds associated with that low."



Overnight minimums are also expected to be "exceptionally cold".

By the time we get to Wednesday or Thursday, particularly through parts of Tasmania, south-east South Australia, southern New South Wales, and much of Victoria, minimum temperatures would be approximately 8 degrees Celsius below average for this time of year, Ms Eadie said.



She said at this stage it was hard to pinpoint exactly where records could fall but large parts of Tasmania, Victoria, south-east South Australia and southern new South Wales could see potentially new cold August maximum and minimum temperatures.

"It's going to depend on the low and just how cold this air mass is," Ms Eadie said.

"But definitely be watching those maximums and minimums, we could see those records fall."

Unsurprisingly, widespread and even severe frosts are also expected.

Then comes the rain

The first system might be cold but it is not expected to bring a lot of rain.

"It's looking more like just sort of patchy, shower activity," Ms Eadie said.

"We are certainly going to see showers and some thundery hail in the wake of this first system."



The second system, which has already been causing heavy rainfall and cold conditions for south-west Western Australia, is expected to start moving east from Wednesday, bringing rainfall to central Australia.

Ms Eadie said much of South Australia, the southern parts of the Northern Territory, and eventually parts of western NSW and western Queensland could see "widespread falls between about 5 and 30 millimetres".

"Of course, with systems like this, you could see locally much, much heavier rainfall totals with thunderstorms that develop with this system moving through," she said.



From Friday and Saturday the rainfall is expected to ramp up on the east coast.

"Again, sort of looking in that 5 to 30mm range, but we could see some much higher totals right about the coastal fringe depending on exactly where that low pressure system moves and how it develops once it starts to move offshore again," she said.

"But certainly shaping up to be a very wet end to the week and through the weekend for the east coast."



Ms Eadie said it was still going to be unusually cold in Sydney, with strong southerly winds, especially on Wednesday.

But probably conditions were not likely to approach the record cold expected to grip the south.

Showers are forecast for Brisbane on Friday.



According to Ms Eadie, the wet weather should ease towards the end of the weekend, but the cold conditions look like they will persist throughout the forecast period.

"We'll still be seeing really unusually cold day and night time temperatures towards the end of the seven-day forecast," she said.

"It's going to be a real icy blast — so I think it's good conditions to be rugging up indoors."


- ABC

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