That’s a very rare weather event.
Parts of Tasmania have been blanketed in snow for the first time in about 40 years as a wintry blast from Antarctica transformed it and areas of Victoria into a winter wonderland.
Tasmania’s wintry blast continued overnight, with Launceston in the state’s north receiving its most significant snowfall since the early 1970s and the weather bureau says it is not over yet.
Launceston was hammered by snow as the temperature at the airport plummeted below zero just after 9pm on Tuesday while Scottsdale, to the northwest, reached 0.9 degrees about half an hour later.
It was all caused by an air mass moving north from Antarctica. Let’s call this phenomenon an Antarctic blast. Arctic blasts occur on the northern hemisphere!
Bureau of Meteorology Matthew Thomas told Yahoo News Australia the snow forming in Tasmania’s north is a weather event not seen in the area for about 40 years.
“The last time we saw snow settle in Launceston was in the early 1970s,” Mr Thomas said.
“It’s a very rare event for Tasmania. We also saw some snow settled in Hobart with the last two occurrences in 1986 and 2015. However, it’s not uncommon to see snow in the south of Tasmania.”
Rare to see this much snow in northern Tasmania! Many #Launceston locals are saying this is the most snow they've seen in the region. This has turned out to be a historic event for Tasmania. https://t.co/nzUKOXVvXE— Ben Domensino (@Ben_Domensino) August 4, 2020
Settled snow is when it forms on the ground. Snowfall, while it is fairly uncommon, does occur in Australia but it’s rare to have it pile it up where you can physically step in it.
Mr Thomas added BOM doesn’t record snowfall either as it’s mostly recorded as rain. This is because it melts fairly quickly.
Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino described it as “a historic event for Tasmania.”
“Grindelwald – a Swiss-themed village just north of Launceston – was looking a little more Swiss than usual this morning. At 190m above sea level in northern Tasmania, this is a rare sight,” he tweeted.
Grindelwald – a Swiss-themed village just north of Launceston – was looking a little more Swiss than usual this morning. At 190m above sea level in northern Tasmania, this is a rare sight. https://t.co/IpKYBDnPYq— Ben Domensino (@Ben_Domensino) August 5, 2020
‘2020 gets weirder and weirder’
On social media, people marvelled at the conditions. Some people filmed and pictured themselves skiing and snowboarding through Launceston’s CBD.
“I’m 61 years old. Never seen it snow in Launceston,” one man tweeted.
People described it as a “winter wonderland” while the Prospect Hawks Football Club were filmed training on a sodden, snow-covered field on Tuesday night.
2020 just keeps on giving!!….. Launceston, Tasmania this morning ? ❄ It never snows like this, never. So magical ☃️ pic.twitter.com/hT7Jq2WZxK— Jnellz ????? (@JanelleKerrison) August 5, 2020
“2020 gets weirder and weirder,” one woman tweeted.
Another woman called it “so magical.”
Residents in Hobart can expect warmer temperatures to end the working week with lows of about 5 and highs at about 11.
Some areas could still receive more snow too. Weatherzone meteorologist Joel Pippard said it’s “likely” we’ll see some more snow but the air mass has already begun to warm up.
Launceston’s forecast for a blistering low of -1 and -2 on Thursday and Friday with tops of 12.
Victoria’s ‘once in a decade event’
Victoria also received some snowfall in what BOM duty forecaster Tom Delamotte called a “once in 10 years” event.
Dandenong and Yarra Ranges and the Alpine regions were all blanketed with snow while some suburbs around Melbourne, including Sunbury in the northwest, also received a dusting on Tuesday with some snow overnight.
“For a few places this was the first time in 10 years they received snow,” Mr Delamotte said.
“In the Dandenong Ranges, where they commonly get snow, it was the most significant snowfall since 2008 as well.
“In Melbourne’s CBD it doesn’t happen very often either. It’s hard to tell how much actually fell but it lines up to a one in 10-year kind of event.”
Heavy snow in Ballarat
Ballarat in the Victorian Central Highlands received a flurry of snow on the morning of August 4 as a wintry blast from Antarctica caused temperatures to plummet in Australia’s southeast.
The Bureau of Meteorology expected snow and strong winds in the region, including parts of Victoria and Tasmania, during the week.
Temperatures were expected to drop to single-digit figures in those areas and parts of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory as an “exceptionally cold” air mass from Antartica passed over the southeast, forecasters said.
Damaging wind warnings were issued for the state’s central and eastern coastal areas, including the Mornington Peninsula.
Snow also fell in southern NSW with more possible on Wednesday night. Bombala and Delegate were among the towns close to the Victorian border that were blanketed with snow on Wednesday morning.
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