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‘Breaking records’: Cold snap hits millions of Aussies

Weekend weather update

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Millions of Australians are shivering through an early winter cold snap, with days of potentially record-breaking chill to come.

The weather bureau says south-eastern Australia and Queensland should prepare for “a cold week ahead”.

It follows Melbourne enduring its coldest day in five years on Thursday, with a maximum temperature of just 10.1 degrees – four degrees below its June average.

“It is winter and it is going to be cold. But this is colder than average for winter and lasting for a longer stretch and covering a broad area,” Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Angus Hines told ABC TV on Friday.

“Almost all of those eastern states are colder than average through the daytimes but, in particular, it will be cold overnight and early morning temperatures through Tasmania, Victoria, NSW and the ACT – and much of Queensland also.

“We have had that for past couple of days, with chilly days and some chilly nights. It is going to last for several days as well.”

The seasonal chilly snap is due to a large, slow-moving low-pressure system stuck in the Tasman Sea.

“It will steer the southerly wind, the cold wind direction, for eastern Australia but it doesn’t move anywhere for five or six or 10 days,” Hines said.

“We keep pumping in the cold southerly air from the Southern
Ocean over the eastern states for a long stretch to come.”

The low-pressure system is also forecast to lead to massive waves along Australia’s east coast this weekend, with forecaster Weatherzone predicting swells of up to eight metres.

“The low will generate fierce winds along coastal areas of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania” until Wednesday, forecaster Weatherzone said.

“The wave height and period expected over the coming days has the potential to impact port operations along eastern Australia.

“These large and powerful waves should cause coastal erosion along southern facing beaches in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Dangerous surf warnings will likely be issued.”

As the cold snap continues, Melbourne can expect days of maximums of 12-13 degrees, with overnight lows of 5-6 degrees. Hobart is forecast to have tops of only 11 or 12 degrees for the next week, falling as low as 4-5 degrees at night.

Canberrans can expect highs of about 13 degrees. But Hines also warned of “overnight lows dipping well into the negatives, including a forecast -4 towards the end of the weekend and early next week”.

It is slightly warmer in Sydney, with lows of 6-7 degrees and maximums up to 17. Brisbane is expected to get as high as 20 degrees, with overnight minimums similar to Sydney.

Adelaide can expect similar temperatures to Sydney, while Perth enjoys balmy maximums of just over 20 degrees and nights around the Melbourne and Hobart daytime tops.

“Over the past few days, we have seen records – not all-time records – but we have seen some places clock in their coldest temperatures for the past five years, the past 10 years and we expect to see more of that over the coming week,” Hines said.

“It is likely that some places will have their coldest day of the year, of the past decade or so. As we whether we break all-time records, it is too early to say.”

In Tasmania, Victoria and southern and central NSW, the cold snap is expected to bring below-average temperatures for up to 10 days. Queenslanders have it easier, with temperatures forecast to return to winter norms early next week.

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