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Hold on to your beanies, another big burst of winter is on the way

Friday July 23, 2021 - 04:21 AEST
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A conveyer belt of bitterly cold winds are expected this weekend. - ABC

South-eastern Australia has had a freezing couple of days and it is not over yet with more wintry weather on the way this weekend.

It has been bitterly cold across the south-east, after a strong cold front ploughed across the continent on Tuesday bringing a band of rain, strong winds, and much colder temperatures in its wake.

Then clear conditions overnight brought widespread sub-zero temperatures Thursday morning.

But attention quickly turned to South Australia, where a low and trough that had already brought heavy rain to Western Australia earlier in the week brought another wet and cold burst, and temperatures struggled to make it into the double digits. 

Adelaide airport only got up to 9.4 degrees Celcius, Renmark shivered through a max of 8.2C and across the border, Broken Hill only reached 7.8C and Mildura 9.7C. 

The rain is expected to peter out across southern Queensland and New South Wales today, but if you were hoping for a break after all that, this is not the winter for you. 

Two more fronts on way

Today the focus goes back towards the west as the first of two cold front lines up to sweep across the continent.

According to Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonathan How, the front is set to move through south-west WA today bringing more showers, before racing across the Great Australian Bight to reach South Australia and Adelaide by dawn Saturday.

The front is then expected to blast through Victoria and New South Wales on Saturday and into Sunday, before being followed up by a second. 

"It's just going to be a continual conveyor belt of really strong and bitterly cold winds," Mr How said. 

So expect a weekend of damaging winds, showers, local hail, thunderstorms, snow, and even blizzard conditions for alpine areas.

The snow is expected to get down to 500-600 metres overnight Saturday in Victoria, with flurries possible in the hills around Melbourne. 

In Tasmania, snow is expected to get all the way down to 400-500 metres.

A dusting down to 500-600 metres could be on the cards in the ACT, with flurries possible in the capital where it is only expected to get up to 8 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

Damaging surf is expected to combine with high tides to bring coastal impacts, especially for Victoria and Tasmania on Saturday into Sunday. 

In good news though, for those who weathered the destructive winds in Victoria last month, these winds are expected to be the more common north-westerlies and last a much shorter duration. 

"This time we're talking about winds around that 100 kilometre an hour mark, but that's still enough to bring down trees and power lines and cause power outages, unfortunately," said senior forecaster Dean Narramore.  

State duty officer of the Victorian SES, Aaron White, wants Victorians to stay safe and out of floodwaters. 

"With the recent weather events we have had come across the state of Victoria we've got some trees that are already compromised and are more likely to fall with this wind event across the weekend," he said. 

"We want people to be well clear of any dangers and ensure they are remaining clear of those at all times."

If anyone needs assistance from the SES, the nationwide number to call 132 500. 

As usual, please keep up with the warnings at ABC Emergency. 

Country of contrast

While parts of the south-east shivered through temperatures well below average, temperatures have been over 10 degrees above average in parts of the Northern Territory. 

The heat is expected to push into northern Queensland today. 

The unseasonable heat is expected to dry things out and bring increased fire danger for the north and particularly the Top End this week. 

But what about that crazy low? 

Keen weather watchers would have noticed there was a deep low impacting Victoria and South Australia on the weather models earlier in the week. 

Luckily, according to Mr Narramore, it now looks like the system will stay well south of the continent. 

These intense low pressure systems with pressures down to 950 millibars and winds well over 100kph usually circle around the Southern Ocean within the westerly wind belt.

Most of the time they stay south with just the fronts and troughs they generate reaching up onto the mainland, as is expected to happen this weekend. 

Mr Narramore said it was highly unusual but not impossible for these lows to make their way up onto the mainland. 

"Of course it has some big impacts if it does happen. But luckily, in this case, that deep low is going to be much further south and not impacting us too much." 

So rug up and keep your wits about you folks. This winter is far from over yet. 


© ABC 2021

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