News National Blizzards, snow and fierce winds blast the nation

Blizzards, snow and fierce winds blast the nation

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Blizzards, snow, gale-force winds and heavy rain continue to plummet across continental Australia, damaging houses while Tasmania enjoys “relatively mild” winter temperatures.

A major cold front has created a winter wonderland in parts of New South Wales, with good snow falls recorded in the Alpine region and a light dusting in the Central Tablelands.

However, what is shaping up to be a boon for the state’s ski resorts could create havoc on the roads as the school holidays end, with two highways closed for a period on Sunday morning.

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Meteorologists from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said the low-pressure system, which was bringing the cold front and snow, was expected to last for most of the week ahead.

“Later in the week there is another upper-level trough moving through and there will be very cold air with that,” BoM senior forecaster Neil Fraser said.

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Snow blankets a tree-lined driveway in Orange, NSW. Photo: Twitter

“So the snow will continue right through most of the week, if not all the week.”

Despite being closed earlier on Sunday morning, the Mitchell Highway is now open between Lithgow and Mount Lambie and the Great Western Highway is open in both directions.

Emergency services have advised motorists to exercise caution and delay travel in these areas if possible.

Victorians could expect blizzard conditions, with strong winds, heavy rain and snowfall in the next 24 hours, the BoM warned.

“We had a fair bit [of rain] yesterday, it’s still rainy in the west and we’ll see another band come across the east of the state,” senior forecaster Phil King said.

He said a gale-force wind warning was current for Victoria’s west coast and East Gippsland coast.

“As the low-pressure system develops and intensifies east of Gabo Island … we’ll see the winds pick up, heavy rain through Gippsland, further snowfalls in alpine areas and strong to gale force winds,” he said.

Mr King said while the cold snap was Victoria’s chilliest since the start of June, it was not unusual for this time of year.

“The system that we’re seeing crossing the state is a severe system, it’s brought cold conditions, snow down to low levels around 800 metres, we had snow at Mt Macedon in the Grampians,” he said.

“We get these kind of systems three or four times a year, it’s a system that brings much-welcome rain and snowfall to Victoria during the winter period.

“They’re important part of our climate and they’re not that unusual, but they are severe.”

Snowfall has also been recorded in the western outskirts of Australian Capital Territory on Sunday morning, with Corin Forest reporting five centimetres of snow overnight.

Roads around the area in the Tidbinbilla Range have opened, but only for four-wheel drives or cars equipped with snow chains.

A dusting of snow could clearly be seen in the Brindabellas.

Stormy weather damages roofs, homes

Snow dusts a rooftop in Armidale
Snow dusts a rooftop in Armidale, NSW. (Supplied: Laura Claridge)

In Adelaide, gale-force winds brought down trees and powerlines overnight in the wake of Saturday’s cold snap that saw snow fall in parts of the Adelaide Hills and the state’s mid-north.

SA’s highest recorded gust in the wake of the strong cold front that crossed the state was 98 kilometres per hour at Hindmarsh Island, with other gusts of about 70 kilometres per hour during the night.

The stormy weather also caused damage to roofs and homes, and the State Emergency Service has had about 60 callouts so far this weekend.

BoM’s SA duty forecaster, Paul Bierman, said while no more snow was likely, conditions would stay cold for the next few days.

“We stay in a south-westerly airstream for the next few days and it’s drawing a lot of air from very far south of the continent,” he said.

A skier makes the most of a fresh dump at Thredbo

“For Adelaide, we’re seeing maximum temperatures of around 13 or 14 degrees Celsius every day for the next seven days.”

Mr Bierman said rainfall totals in the past 24 hours had been in the range of five to 15 millimetres in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

Australia’s most southern state has however largely escaped the weather pattern affecting other eastern states and is enjoying relatively mild winter temperatures.

Burnie in north-west Tasmania is heading for a top of 16 degrees, while the capital will reach 13 degrees.

Cold snaps earlier this winter have left higher parts of the island blanketed in snow, where it remains in some places.

While the mercury has plummeted at night leaving frosty mornings, recent days have been chilly and wet in parts but not freezing.

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