The record-breaking cold snap that has spread across south-eastern Australia this week has a bright side – for some at least.
The icy blast has brought widespread early snow across parts of Victoria, NSW and Tasmania – with some of Australia’s biggest ski resorts set to cash in by opening a week early.
Victoria’s Mount Buller said on Wednesday it would open this Saturday, on the first day of winter, with free skiing.
Buller is already under about 35 centimetres of snow after days of blizzards this week. It was originally scheduled to open on the Queen’s Birthday June long weekend.
— Hotham (@_hotham) May 28, 2019
— Mt Buller (@mtbuller) May 29, 2019
Over the border in NSW, Perisher will open on Friday, after three days of blizzard conditions dumped more than 60 centimetres of snow.
More snow is forecast for next week, and the resort said it was already enjoying its best early opening conditions in years.
— Perisher Ski Resort (@PerisherResort) May 29, 2019
Politicians spending the day in the ACT are used to confronting ice-cool conditions in Parliament, and on Wednesday it was no different with an expected top of just 10C and snow falling on the Brindabella Ranges.
It felt like less than 0 degrees before sunrise after the city shivered through its coldest May day in 20 years on Tuesday.
In Hobart, the air felt like 1.8C and the city skyline sparkling as snow fell on Mt Wellington.
Hail and showers were likely for Wednesday afternoon and evening.
The chill that has brought the snow bonanza is also being felt away from the mountains. Melbourne endured its chilliest day of 2019 on Wednesday, and its coldest May day in seven years.
The mercury was tipped to reach just 12 degrees in the Victorian capital on Wednesday.
3pm: If we don't rise any higher in the city (and good chance we won't thanks to the showers starting to stream through), then today will be our coldest May day since the year 2000. @7NewsMelbourne #janesweather #melbweather #coldsnap #brrrr pic.twitter.com/AcOlZXoqIi
— Jane Bunn (@JaneBunn) May 29, 2019
“It’ll also be the coldest day of the year so far for Melbourne,” Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Tom Delamotte said.
Regional Ballarat, west of Melbourne, was set to top just seven degrees. If it was true to forecast, it would be Ballarat’s coldest May day since 2000.
The strong cold outbreak across Victoria was bringing wind and snow down to 600 metres.
Mr Delamotte said Mount Dandenong (on Melbourne’s outskirts) and the higher peaks in the Otways, Strzelecki and Macedon Ranges might be in for a dusting of snow.
The coldest place in Melbourne on Wednesday morning was Ferny Creek in the Dandenong Ranges, which reached four degrees at 7.20am.
Statewide, the chilliest place was Mount Buller, which fell to minus four.