The Antarctic blast is about to take its wrath out on Sydney with the mercury plummeting while a “rare” snow event could envelop many towns.
Sydney’s projected high of just 11C today could see the Harbour City record its lowest daytime maximum temperature for a quarter of a century.
The city’s west is likely to be even colder as a cold pool of Antarctic air barrels across eastern Australia.
Snow has already blanketed many regional towns with more to come. While in Victoria, wild storms have wreaked havoc with intense rain and wind bringing down trees and powerlines.
“A major winter storm outbreak continues to impact multiple states,” Sky News Weather meteorologist Alison Osborne said on Thursday.
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“Rare, remarkable” snowfall due
By 10am on Thursday, Sydney’s CBD had only barely managed to creep past the 9C barrier. If it only just gets to 11C, as forecast, there won’t have been a chiller day since 1996.
“Central and central western parts of New South Wales have had a blanketing of snow with thick, fat flakes coming down,” said Ms Osborne.
“New England (in the state’s north east) is set to see some very rare and very remarkable snowfall later today.”
Towns including Orange, Oberon. Leura and Guyra have seen snow. Armidale and Inverell could well be next.
“That low pressure system is not done with its wild weather yet. It’s hooking back from the Tasman Sea close to south east of mainland bringing onshore winds and heavy falls for Tasmania and renewed rainfall for eastern Victoria.
Around 200mm of rain fell in some areas of Gippsland, in Victoria, overnight.
Cold polar air swirling around the east
The large low pressure system is currently spiralling around the south east. As that low continues its journey, rain and wind will descend throughout much of the area and snow will also be a feature on higher ground.
“On Wednesday and Thursday temperatures could be five to 10 degrees below average,” said Sky News Weather’s Tom Saunders.
“It’s not just about the snow – this low will generate heavy rain across Southeast Australia, and there is a risk of flooding through central and eastern Victoria.”
That’s due to the East Coast Low, an intense low pressure system which occurs a few times of year off the eastern coast of Australia.
Warnings for Victoria
A severe weather warning of damaging winds is in place for Melbourne, central Victoria and the western Gippsland with winds of up to 60 km/h and gusts of 120 km/h on Thursday.
There are now multiple flood warnings on rivers in Victoria’s east including the Latrobe and Yarra. A road weather alert is current for Melbourne’s motorists.
Melbourne will top out at just 16C on Thursday and 15C on Friday. Rainfall of up to 25mm can be expected up until Saturday. Wet at Traralgon with 35mm from Thursday to Saturday.
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New South Wales and the ACT
As well as the chill it’s also likely to be wet in Sydney on Thursday with up to 15mm of rain with more showers on Friday.
The mercury is forecast to reach 17C on Thursday, and 19C the day after with lows of 7C.
For other areas of NSW snow and ice may lead to dangerous driving conditions.
Inverell, in northern NSW, could top out at just 6C on Thursday. Tamworth may peak at 7C – it hasn’t been that cold since 1998. Armidale could see up to 20cms of snow into a 5C Thursday.
Further south, more now is likely for Orange, Oberon and the Blue Mountains.
On the ski resorts it’s going to be a bumper start to the snow season with up to 60cms across the Alps. Some of that snow could come in blizzards.
Rain for Canberra with showers until Friday. A high of 10C on Thursday and between 11-13C heading into the weekend. Lows nearing zero.
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South Australia and Tasmania
Dry in Adelaide with maximums of 17C for the rest of the week with overnight minimums of 10C.
Hobart will drop to a maximum of just 13C on Thursday before heading to the mid-teens for the weekend. Lows of 11C. Expect heavy showers of between 5-20mm most days until Saturday.
Even tropical areas could feel the chill
Brisbane will get warmer with a high of 19C today reaching 22C by Sunday but with morning lows of 8C. Generally dry in Queensland’s capital.
It will be colder further north though with Rockhampton’s minimum sinking to just 3C on Friday morning.
Up in the Top End it’s hardly going to be cold but the system farther south could have an effect bringing overnights lows into the high teens for Darwin.
A different weather system is affecting Western Australia. Thursday will see heavy falls of up to 15mm with some of the rain also heading to the south west corner of the state.
Maximums of 20C in Perth for much of the week and into the weekend.