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Snow alert for Hobart as 'Antarctic air' sweeps towards Tasmania

by Damian McIntyre, Monday August 3, 2020 - 22:17 EST
ABC licensed image
While the snow is picturesque, authorities caution those planning bushwalks to think ahead. - ABC licensed

An icy blast of a kind not seen for five years is set to hit Tasmania, causing temperatures to plummet and snow to fall to 100 metres — with those planning to take to the wilderness warned if they get into trouble, help may not be able to reach them.



The arctic conditions are expected to hit Tasmania late on Monday and early Tuesday, bringing strong southerly winds and snow to low levels — even to Hobart suburbs.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Simon Louis said snow could fall in Hobart by Monday night.

"We've got a cold front and a really cold air mass approaching with some really cold Antarctic air," he said.

"We'll initially see some rain starting to develop over Tasmania this afternoon as the cold front approaches and then we'll start to see the snow line lowering.

"There could be some snow around, certainly on Mount Wellington and down into some of the Hobart suburbs.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Mount Nelson, Fern Tree — places like that saw some snow on the ground."



It is five years since snow last fell to this level in Hobart.

That cold snap caused snow to fall on beaches in southern Tasmania but the bureau doesn't expect that this time.

"It's going to be fairly similar temperature-wise but we're just not seeing the precipitation lining up with the coldest air to really see that significant snowfall right down to sea level this time around," Mr Louis said.

"I don't think we'll see a lot of snow settling down to sea level but we could see a few snow flurries getting down quite low."

Strong, icy, southerly winds are also on their way.

The wild weather will bring gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour to parts of southern and eastern Tasmania.



There will be wind gusts of up 100 kilometres per hour on the east coast.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds is likely to be issued on Tuesday morning for the east coast.

Heavy showers are also possible in the east and south during Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

"Because the snow line is still fairly low, we could see heavy snowfall for areas above about 700 metres on Tuesday night and Wednesday," Mr Louis said.

"Quite a good dump possible for Mount Wellington, Ben Lomond will probably get some good snow.

"It's quite an unusual situation, so we might actually see some snow fall in places we usually wouldn't along the higher parts of the east coast.

"There's an outside chance that we could see it on the mountains around Freycinet, which would certainly be a very unusual thing if that happened, Maria Island, places like that."

Frosty mornings are expected in Launceston as the cold snap hits the state.

Motorists warned over road dangers



A road weather alert has been issued as snow and black ice on Tuesday and Wednesday could disrupt transport and travel across some parts of the state.

Tasmania Police announced .

Inspector Brian Edmonds warned there will be dangerous conditions on many roads.

"We're asking all motorists to drive to the conditions, be aware of snow and ice on the road, make sure that they slow down," he said.

"There are a number of elevated areas on Tasmanian roads that have the potential to be very slippery due to ice, snow or the wet weather.

"Staying well below the posted speed limit is a much safer and much more preferred option than having an accident."

A Bushwalkers Alert has been issued as the cold weather will pose a .

A man and his adult son were rescued from Tasmania's Mt Anne area after getting lost in deteriorating weather on Sunday night.

Police say the 47-year-old from Wynyard and his 20-year-old son were expected to finish the three-day circuit on Sunday but lost the track and activated an emergency beacon.

The rescue helicopter was sent out to look for them but had to turn back due to low cloud and heavy rain.

A second attempt was made that was successful and the pair was found safe and well.



Police are warning that and walkers need to take extra precautions.

Inspector Edmonds said any rescue operation could be difficult — or worse, abandoned.

"If there's low cloud conditions it can certainly make helicopter operations either very dangerous or sometimes not able to be conducted," he said.

"So that will increase the danger of anyone bushwalking in elevated areas."

Wind and showers are expected to ease on Wednesday.


- ABC

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