05 August 2017

Cold and damaging winds to be felt as winter bites

THE great blizzard of Oz is on its way, bringing damaging winds, freezing temperatures and the biggest snow dump of the year to the southern states from later today.

A strong cold front moving across South Australia and into Victoria will cause a wild winter storm of strong winds and heavy snow, possibly as much as one metre in some parts to alpine regions.

Adelaide is the capital city that will bear the worst of the storm, with that front bringing potentially damaging winds that are expected to pick up later today and may last into Sunday afternoon.

And while Melbourne has woken to a pleasant day, conditions are set to turn ugly tonight, with the Bureau of Meteorology anticipating strong winds of up to 90km/h.

The cold front is approaching western South Australia and is expected to move east across Victoria throughout Sunday, Bureau of Meteorology chief forecaster Jonathan Grimes told news.com.au.

“That cold front is going to bring blizzard conditions to the alpine country during Sunday. Winds are already starting to pick up and are gusting ahead of the cold front, but blizzard conditions will obviously lead to snow as well,” he said.

“We’ll start seeing showers develop over the alpine country this afternoon but the real increase in those snow falls will be on Sunday, and won’t really ease until later on Monday. So we’re expecting those very strong winds and heavy snow falls to extend over the alpine country for a good 24, 36 hours.”

The bureau has issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds in parts of South Australia. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

The bureau has issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds in parts of South Australia. Picture: Bureau of MeteorologySource:Supplied

Mr Grimes said South Australia could be lashed by winds in the 90 to 125km/h range, with Adelaide warned to brace for potentially damaging winds from later tonight, before they ease around Sunday afternoon.

In Victoria, the bureau expects winds of about 50 to 60km/h, with gusts of up to 90km/h. In the Victorian alps, winds are likely to pick up to about 110km/h.

The bureau has also issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds in parts of Victoria. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

The bureau has also issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds in parts of Victoria. Picture: Bureau of MeteorologySource:Supplied

“In Melbourne, the risk of damaging winds is most likely overnight tonight, actually ahead of the cold front, and that’s basically with the winds moving over the mountains to the north west,” Mr Grimes said.

And there’s going to be snow — and plenty of it. Mt Buller, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek are bracing for the biggest snow dump of the season so far.

People heading to alpine areas are being advised to listen to emergency broadcasts and check the VicRoads website for any road closures.

“We’re expecting widespread falls of about half a metre, and we may see isolated falls in some parts getting up to that one metre mark. Which is obviously very welcome, but not a nice day to be out in the snow, until the weather clears,” Mr Grimes said.

“We don’t see too many [blizzards] but we do see them a few times a year each winter, and this is certainly the depth of winter. We usually see them earlier so it is unusual it’s been prolonged and hasn’t come off until August.”

The combination of strong winds and alpine snow is going to make for a very chilly weekend in our southern capital cities. Adelaide is set for 8C tonight and a showery 14C tomorrow, and Melbourne — which shivered through its coldest day in almost half a century on Thursday — is set for 7C tonight and 14C tomorrow. But Mr Grimes said the strong winds and wet conditions would make it feel a lot colder in both cities.

The strong winds may be felt in some alpine regions of southern NSW but Sydney will be unscathed, with the bureau expecting 10C overnight and warming up to a clear and sunny Sunday of 21C. Winds in Sydney are expected to ease by this afternoon.

Canberra can expect highs of 11C today and a windy and showery day tomorrow that’s set to reach 12C.

The bureau has issued warnings for a number of regions across Victoria and South Australia.

In Victoria, there are warnings of severe, damaging winds for the Central, South West, North Central areas of the state and parts of the East Gippsland, North East, West and South Gippsland and Wimmera Forecast Districts.

In South Australia, the bureau has issued warnings for the Adelaide metropolitan area, Mount Lofty Ranges, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Mid North, Kangaroo Island, Murraylands, Upper South East, Lower South East and parts of the West Coast, Eastern Eyre Peninsula and the Riverland.

There is also a minor flood warning for the Mount Lofty Ranges district.

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