Weather News

Wintry spell in southeastern Australia

Ben Domensino, Wednesday October 16, 2019 - 12:08 EDT

A wintry mix of weather will hit southeastern Australia during the next 48 hours, with showers, thunderstorms, hail and even a chance of thundersnow.

Patchy rain and storms were affecting parts of SA, Victoria and southern NSW on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning as a weak upper-level trough moved over southeastern Australia.

Image: Satellite image showing rain-bearing clouds over southeastern Australia on Wednesday. The speckled cloud to the south of Australia indicates the presence of a cold air mass over the Great Australian Bight.

Adelaide had picked up 6mm of rain by 9am on Wednesday, with help from a few overnight thunderstorms, which was their best drop in nearly four weeks. Further east, Victoria's Nhill had received 7mm by 9am Wednesday, which was their heaviest rain in two months.

Patchy rain and a few thunderstorms will continue to affect parts of Victoria, NSW, SA and Tasmania on Wednesday, before a much colder air mass spreads across southeastern Australia during Wednesday night and Thursday.

Image: ECMWF-HRES model showing cold air passing over southeastern Australia on Thursday.

This frigid air mass will cause showers and thunderstorms with localised areas of small hail and snow. The air should get cold enough for snow to reach about 900 metres above sea level in parts of Victoria on Thursday morning, with a fresh dusting also likely in the mainland alps on Thursday.

The wintry storms could also cause a rare phenomenon called thundersnow in some elevated areas on Thursday. As the name suggests, this is snow that falls from a thunderstorm containing lightning.

Drier and calmer weather will briefly return to southeastern Australia on Thursday night and Friday morning as the cold air mass moves out into the Tasman Sea. However, another strong frontal system will cross the region between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, brining another burst of cold, wet and windy weather to parts of Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and possibly southern NSW.

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