‘Very unusual’: Australia’s east coast cities are feeling their coldest start to winter in decades
Melbourne is on track to record its coldest first fortnight of winter since 1949. Photo: Getty
Australia is shivering through an unseasonably chilly start to winter as a cold front continues to sweep over the east coast.
Cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have already experienced their coldest June in years, or even decades – and there are no signs it’s about to get any better.
“South-eastern Australia is set for yet another week of colder than average weather,” meteorologist Jane Bunn from 7News and JanesWeather.com told The New Daily.
“The actual temperatures aren’t exceptionally cold – we feel this every winter – but the persistent nature of the cold is very unusual.”
There are two weather systems to blame.
“A strong cold front swept across much of eastern Australia on May 31, and since then we’ve been stuck in a fairly persistent weather pattern.”
There’s also a large high-pressure system hovering over the Great Australian Bight.
“Normally we’d see the high move across the east and out to the Tasman Sea, giving us a break from the chill, but this high isn’t really budging,” Bunn said.
In Melbourne, temperatures are expected to peak at just 14 degrees next week – with a high chance of rain to boot.
“In the past 11 days Melbourne has had 10 days below average and only one just above average,” Bunn said.
“The next seven days are likely to be below average too.”
Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino said the city was on track to record its coldest first fortnight of winter since 1949.
It’s a similar situation in Sydney, where next week’s high is forecast to be just 19 degrees.
“Sydney just had its coldest start to winter since 1989, with the temperature failing to reach 18.5 degrees in the first week of June,” Mr Domensino wrote on Twitter.
“For perspective, Bob Hawke was our prime minister when Sydney last experienced an opening week of winter this cold.”
The good news for rain-fatigued Sydneysiders is that the weather, while cold, is expected to remain mostly sunny for the foreseeable future.
In Brisbane, Friday’s forecast low of 6 degrees has not been recorded in the city since 1904.
Daily highs will hover around 19 degrees until the end of next week.
It’s not all bad news, though. Skiers are rubbing their hands with a bumper start to the 2022 season. Resorts in Victoria and NSW officially begin their ski season this weekend, although many have already been open for a week.
Many Victorian resorts already have more than a metre of snow – their best start to the season in more than 20 years. In NSW, Thredbo is enjoying a similar bounty.
“We’re all very excited up here, it’s been snowing for a week and it’s still coming down,” Thredbo’s marketing manager Caroline Brauer told the Canberra Times this week.
“We believe this is the best start to the snow season since the year 2000 but if it keeps on snowing, then this could break even more records.”
Away from the east coast, it’s a different weather story.
Large swathes of the Northern Territory recently recorded temperatures up to 10 degrees above average.
However, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts the cold surge affecting the south-east will move towards the top end by Wednesday, giving Darwin its first night below 20 degrees since September last year.