Winter has laid siege to Victoria and a big chunk of New South Wales.
The whole of Victoria was buffeted by harsh winds and heavy rain on Tuesday, with parts of New South Wales also hit hard.
Meteorologist Jenny Sturrock said the Bureau of Meteorology’s predictions of generally terrible weather were spot on.
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“It’s certainly wild and woolly out there,” Ms Sturrock said on Tuesday afternoon. “Things have come to fruition as we were expecting.”
We should abandon all hope of a return to milder conditions, with the cold snap expected to last for the duration of the week at least. Winter has well and truly taken up residence.
“We’re bracing ourselves as well for the next system, which we’re looking around Saturday for that next vigorous cold front to arrive, so it might again be a situation of quite strong winds and then also some more snow and potential blizzard conditions redeveloping again on Saturday,” Ms Sturrock said.
The reason for this grinding gear change in weather is a low pressure system swirling up from the Southern Ocean.
Alex Evans, a climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, said the system was “quite a deep low-pressure system”.
“These are just a part of what occurs through the Winter season,” Mr Evans said.
On Tuesday, Melbourne woke to a low of 7 degrees in the morning, while Sydney was slightly warmer at approximately 11 degrees. The warmest Melbourne reached was 14 degrees, and Sydney 17 degrees.
Most capital cities except for Darwin will continue to feel the chill for the rest of the week.
Despite freezing us to the bone, the temperatures are actually fairly normal for this time of year, according to Climatologist Alex Evans.
The ferocious winds, which were especially tempestuous in south west and central Victoria, caused power outages, downed trees and truck rollovers – and made it feel even colder.
“[There have] certainly been some strong winds well in excess of 100 kilometres per hour… which could be adding to the feeling that it’s actually quite cold, even though the temperatures have been closer to average for this time of year,” Mr Evans said.
To put this in context, 100 kilometre winds are in the mid-range for the weakest category of tropical cyclone, which explains the state-wide carnage.
While the rest of humanity shivered, avid skiers like Susie Diver were lapping up the heavy snowfall.
When The New Daily spoke with her on Tuesday, the Communications Manager for Thredbo ski resort had just returned from a ski run, and was elated by the “well over half a metre” of snow that had already fallen in the Snowy Mountains.
“It’s amazing. I’ve just come off the mountain just then, and there is boot-deep powder down the run. Light and dry. Blizzardy, so visibility is a bit tough, but the snow is incredible.
“We had nothing, you know, we had quite mild conditions, and then it basically overnight transformed the mountain into, like, a Winter Wonderland. That’s the exciting thing,” Ms Diver said.
The staff at Mt Bulla were similarly enthused.
“It’s happy days at Mt Buller and we are thrilled that mother nature has decided to come to the party,” said David McNamara, communications manager at the ski resort in Victoria’s alpine region.
“We have gone from green to white in less than 24 hours and the resort is looking beautiful once again. We have also been able to fire up our snowmaking guns thanks to the cold weather which allows us to top up what we have already received.
“There were a few skiers and boarders out there today and now that the word is out, it is sure to be a great weekend on the mountain,” Mr McNamara said.
The resort at Falls Creek in northeastern Victoria also reported over 50 centimetres of snow, with another 40 centimetres expected on Tuesday.
The ski lifts at Falls Creek were closed on Monday, but this didn’t stop hard-core powder fans from hitting the slopes, according to marketing coordinator Tory Gregory.
“We don’t have any lifts running today. There are people out skiing though, walking up the hills,” Ms Gregory said.