Australia is living up to its reputation for variable weather this week, with an ongoing heatwave across parts of Queensland occurring alongside snow falls in the Victorian Alps.
Parts of south-eastern Queensland have sweltered through temperatures in excess of 35°C yesterday, following an overnight minimum of 22°C. A trough sitting over Queensland and the Northern Territory is responsible for these high temperatures, directing warm continental air from central Australia over the region.
Conversely, in the south of the continent, parts of the Victorian Alps have seen dustings of snow! Mt Hotham reached minus 1.5°C on Monday night, Mt Buller minus 1.2°C and Mt Baw Baw minus 1.1°C.
Forecasts for this area suggested that cool temperatures would intensify, bringing 10 – 20cm of snow to some parts on Tuesday night. A high pressure system centred in the Bite is directing cool air from the Southern Ocean over parts of Victoria, bringing these cooler temperatures. Melbourne is expected to reach a maximum of only 18°C today, well below the December average temperature of 24°C.
Mr Efron from the Bureau of Meteorology said summer snow fell on average every couple of years, most recently on January 11 when it snowed in Mt Buller.
“It’s not uncommon. We can get snow any time of year in Victoria. The waters to the south of the continent are still pretty cold. All you need is a front to come up from a fair way south and you can get snow.”