Right on cue, after a warm day 2 weeks ago, an extreme cold snap has gripped half of australia, bringing lots of snow and rainfall to NSW coastal areas.
Snow falls across NSW and ACT
Friday October 12, 2012 – 10:52 EDT
Snow is falling across a large part of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, despite it being over a month into spring.
There have been reports of snow in the Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands, while Canberra has received 10 centimetres.
Sleet was even forecast for the Darling Downs, north of the NSW border.
The wild weather is already affecting Sydney’s metropolitan area, with Sydney Ferries suspending services between Manly and Circular Quay due to big swells.
Commuters can still take the fast ferry or replacement buses.
Major highways affected by snow and ice remain open, but motorists have been urged to take caution.
The snowfall is also putting pressure on power supplies.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the snow is a result of a very cold air mass that has moved across NSW, causing a deep low to form on the south coast.
Bureau forecaster Ewen Mitchell says although the snowfall is unusual, it is not unheard of at this time of year.
“I don’t think there’s been hugely heavy falls. [It’s been] fairly widespread,” he said.
“It’s certainly not record breaking in terms that it’s happened before.”
The bureau says the snowfall is expected to ease into showers around midday (AEDT).
Katoomba resident Dawn told ABC 702 Sydney she woke to a white world.
“It’s very beautiful and peaceful,” she said.
Police and inspectors from Roads and Maritime New South Wales are inspecting the New England Highway after heavy snowfalls in the Northern Tablelands overnight.
They are concerned about a 100-kilometre stretch of highway that runs from Glen Innes to the bottom of Black Mountain.
Guyra, Ben Lomond and Glen Innes have all been heavily affected.
The Transport Management Centre says while the highway is open, motorists need to exercise extreme caution.
Local resident Doug issued a warning to fellow motorists in the New England region.
“There’s snow across the road everywhere,” he said.
“Take extreme caution because the snow has actually settled across the road and will be very icy.
“I wouldn’t advise anything there over about 60km an hour.
“It’s normally 100km through there, but it is a treacherous part of the road.”
Some of Canberra’s suburbs have reached October’s average rainfall over the past two days after receiving up to 80 millimetres.
Parts of the NSW south coast have been saturated with more than 300mm of rain, accompanied by eight-metre waves.
The bureau says yesterday’s 8.6 degrees Celsius temperature was one of the coldest Canberra days on record for this time of year.
Only 300 mm of rain. Not a good start to the seasonal forecast of 80% chance of warmer than normal.