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Snow falls in Canberra region after hot spring day that reached 25 degrees

Isaac Nowroozi and Markus Mannheim, Tuesday September 17, 2019 - 10:38 EST
ABC licensed image
The Federal Highway near Lake George outside the ACT, covered in snow. - ABC licensed

Canberrans awoke to widespread snow on Tuesday morning that blanketed the surrounding region and delayed highway traffic.

About 30 millimetres of rain fell overnight — Canberra's best rainfall in about six months — along with about 10 to 15 centimetres of snow.

The snowfall followed an unseasonably warm Monday that reached 25 degrees Celcius in the ACT, before temperatures dropped to zero overnight during the rain shower.

Commuters coming to the capital from Goulburn, Braidwood and Captains Flat reported significant delays due to the amount on snow on the roads, especially the Federal and Hume highways.

Callers to ABC Radio said the snow continued to fall after sunrise.

"We've had a lot of snow overnight. Probably close to a foot in some places," one said.

"We've got to go out to clear all the roads," a council worker said.

"Even coming to work I had to pull a couple of trees off the road."

The Bureau of Meteorology's Jordan Notaro said the snow was "unusual" because it formed as a result of rainfall rather than a cold front.

"Thirty millimetres or so fell over the overnight period, which cooled down the surface level quite significantly," Mr Notaro said.

"The mechanism that resulted in snow is definitely one that is more rare.

"Instead of seeing the typical mechanism of a really strong cold front that lowered the … freezing level to a level that results in snow, the actual dropping of that snow level was [caused] by a rain event," he explained.


© ABC 2019

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