A “polar blast” bringing extreme gusts, plunging temperatures and low-level snow is currently ravaging much of eastern Australia. The unsettled conditions are forecast to continue until the end of August as the long-lasting high pressure finally breaks down allowing antarctic weather north.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a number of severe weather warnings covering New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Authorities are urging motorists to take care due to fallen trees and treacherous conditions.
A ferocious day of wild weather pummeled southern Australia on Friday bringing destructive winds and plummeting temperatures, and the conditions claimed their first victim — a woman died in Victoria after a tree fell on her car.
Victoria and South Australia have borne the brunt of the polar blast so far but wind damage has been seen as far north as Newcastle on the NSW coast.
And forecasters have warned we’re only on day two of this particular four day winter storm which is likely to persist past Sunday.
Melbourne has been hit by ferocious winds of up to 120km/h, with a pier snapping off and washing away in large swells. A local man told the Herald Sun that about 10m of the structure was ripped off:
“These weather conditions I would describe as cyclonic — extreme winds. The Frankston Pier — what we can see is the end of the pier — has come away with the force of the wind and the waves,” he said.
Along with dangerous winds, temperatures have also been sent plummeting in the country’s east.
The BOM warned ACT residents they will likely see snow around the area and the wind chill will make it feel even colder.
A dusting of powder was seen on the ranges around Canberra today (Aug 09) among other regions. With accumulations of 70cm (28 inches) seen in Alpine regions above 1500m, with further blizzards expected over the coming days.
In NSW, a series of cold fronts that began crossing the country’s southeastern parts yesterday will intensify today, generating “vigorous westerly winds”, the Bureau said.
It’s likely to be as cold as 4C (39.2F) in Melbourne overnight, only reaching 11C (51.8F) tomorrow and on Sunday — with the ‘feels like’ temperature making it feel far colder. Average August temperatures in Mebourne see a high of 15C (59F) and a low of 8C (46.4F).
Across most of NSW and Victoria, the extent of extreme winter weather is forecast to be “the worst in years”.
In South Australia, the Bureau is also urging residents in the state’s southeast to exercise caution with Adelaide, Murray Bridge and Kingscote in line for gusts in excess of 110km/h overnight.
And in Adelaide, Saturday will see a low of 6C (42.8) and a maximum temperature of 12C (53.6F), with similar conditions on Sunday. Average August temperatures in Adelaide see a high of 15C (59F) and a low of 8C (46.4F).
“We’ll see temperatures really plummet and snow levels down to 500m in Victoria and NSW and blizzard conditions in Alpine areas. It certainly is a real cold snap, now is the time to prepare,” said the BOM’s Michael Logan.
The cold times are returning, in line with historically low solar activity.
Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift