Snow flurries are dusting the mountaintops of Victoria’s Australian Alps and the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, as a cold front hits the east coast of Australia.
Victorians bundled up on Friday night as temperatures plummeted to just 9 degrees, while snow has already fallen at Mount Hotham, Falls Creek and Mount Baw Baw with temperature gauges falling up to -4 degrees in the state’s alpine region.
Meteorologist and weather presenter Jane Bunn shared an image of snowfall at Mount Donna Buang at 2pm on Saturday in the southern reaches of the Victorian Alps of the Great Dividing Range.
Falls Creek and Mount Baw Baw in Victoria and Thredbo in New South Wales also celebrated the March snowfall with videos on their Facebook pages.
Moisture formed from the Top End’s ex-tropical Cyclone Trevor prompted dropping temperatures along the east coast of the country as communities continue to confront the deluge of two tropical cyclones in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Road closures are also still in place between Karratha and Port Headland in Western Australia with ex-Cyclone Veronica sitting 600 kilometres off the north-west coast on Friday.
Australian Bureau of Meteorology national operations centre senior meteorologist Craig Burke told The New Daily the moisture from Queensland was triggering cold and snowy conditions through southern New South Wales to Tasmania.
“It will be the coldest March day for four years tomorrow [Saturday] from Melbourne,” Mr Burke said. “If it didn’t hit 15 degrees, it would have been the coldest day going back 40 years.”
The BoM reports a high-pressure system from New Zealand and the low-pressure trough from ex-Tropical Cyclone Trevor will draw humid air from Queensland into New South Wales.
The weather bureau has predicted snow falling above 1100 metres in Victoria’s northern alps and the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales.
As Melbourne braces for the coldest March day in four years, regional Victorians have been warned the fire risk is far from over.
Melbourne was set to reach 29 degrees on Friday with temperatures in the high 20s triggering total fire bans for the Mallee and northern country in Victoria, but the Bureau of Meteorology has warned a “cold front” was approaching.
One of the bureau’s senior meteorologists Rod Dickson said a cold front would come through on Friday afternoon, dropping temperatures “significantly” into the weekend.
He said between 5pm and 7pm on Friday the cold front would reach Melbourne and drop temperatures from mid to high 20s to just 15 degrees by Friday evening.
“If you are heading out, don’t be fooled by the pleasant conditions throughout the day because the temperatures will drop and we’ll see some showers as well and some chance of isolated thunderstorms as it moves through Friday night,” Mr Dickson said.
“In fact, 15 degrees in Melbourne will be the coldest March day since 2015 (on Saturday),” he said.
It was a different story in regional Victoria with the Country Fire Authority declaring a ‘Total Fire Ban’ in the Mallee and Northern Country districts on Friday.
The CFA also declared a ‘very high’ fire risk for the Wimmera, North Central, South West and West and South Gippsland on Friday.
The warnings follow dozens of residents fleeing their homes and properties after devastating bushfires, declared a ‘catastrophe’ by the Insurance Council of Australia, ripped through the Bunyip State Forest in Victoria’s east earlier in March.
New South Wales
In Sydney, the temperature is expected to drop to 15 degrees on Sunday, prompting possibly the coldest March reading in 15 years.
The BoM reported up to 25 millimetres of rainfall and winds of 45 kilometres per hour could also lash the city on Saturday.
“Unsettled” and “severe” weather is also on its way for inland parts of New South Wales, including raised dust storms in parts of the state on Friday, ahead of the Saturday cold front, according to BoM senior meteorologist Craig Burke.
Mr Burke said from Saturday cold air would move through southern New South Wales, including heavy rain, showers and storms before contracting to the northeast of the state.
“It will be a better day on Sunday with more stable patterns to extend across the state,” Mr Burke said.