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Hobart shifts from scorching hot to freezing cold in one weekend, Tasmania


Tasmania's capital, Hobart, went from sweltering hot on Friday, January 31, 2020, to freezing cold on Monday, February 3– all in one weekend.

The city was the third hottest Australian capital behind Melbourne and Canberra on Friday, recording a blistering temperature of 40.4 C (104.7 °F).

The hot and dry weather conditions worsened a bushfire at a plantation in the state's north, which reached an emergency level and put a dozen properties at risk.

It was then downgraded in the evening as crews worked with easing conditions.

In a bizarre turn, a major snowfall hit Mount Wellington overlooking the city just days later. On Monday, the area's temperature plummeted to a below-freezing -1 °C (30.2 °F).

One family experienced the sharp weather shift as they traveled to the mountain for a weekend holiday.

"On the first day, we'd planned to go up the mountain, but it was so hot that we couldn't," said Adrian Van Beek, who came with his family from Brisbane to escape the summer heat.

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"When we drove up we saw there was snow already on the trees and on the grass, and then this cloud just came over us and we couldn't see anything, it was completely white, and 10 minutes later it was snowing."

Van Beek remarked that for their first trip to Hobart, the situation was not what his family thought of and that it was "absolutely unexpected."

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"Our motivation to come down here was that temperatures in Brisbane during summer are hot anyway but excessively hot this year so we thought we'd head south and enjoy the weather down here."

He added, "I expected it to be cool, but did I expect it to be -1 °C? No. Did I expect it to be 40 °C? Absolutely not."

According to Simon McCulloch from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), hot temperatures are becoming more usual in Tasmania, and that the state has had around 16 days with 40 °C (104 °F) across records spanning 100 years.

"Most of those days have happened this century, and three of them happened in 2019. There's certainly been more frequency of those higher temperatures in recent times," he said. 

Hobart has had two of the said temperatures in January. On the other hand, the average February hot temperature is around 22 °C (71.6 °F).

The city is forecast to see clouds for the rest of the weekend into Sunday, February 9, according to BOM. Some showers are likely to fall by Tuesday, February 11.

Featured image credit: Mt. Mawson Public Shelter


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