Launceston sees most significant snowfall since early 1970s, Tasmania

Launceston sees most significant snowfall since early 1970s, Tasmania

Residents of Launceston, Tasmania, woke up to more than 30 cm (12 inches) of snow on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), this was the most significant snowfall the city experienced since the early 1970s.

"For Launceston, it's actually quite rare to see snow falling in the CBD and even rarer to see it settling on the ground," said BOM supervising meteorologist Simon Louis.

"From our records, it seems like this is the most significant event there since at least early 1970s, and the most comparable event we've found dates all the way back to 1921."

A very cold Antarctic air swirling around a low-pressure system to the east of the state caused the major snowfall and also brought lightning, heavy rain, and even thundersnow in parts of the state.

Icy southerly winds were observed in the south and east of Tasmania overnight, with Hobart recording gusts of up to 94 km/h (58 mph) and Maria Island 100 km/h (62 mph).

More than 70 lightning strikes were also recorded in Hobart, which caused power outages, along with strong winds.

"It's not that common in Australia, but we do sometimes see lightning with snow," Louis added.

"That's a phenomenon known as thundersnow. It does occur from time to time, but I wouldn't say it's very common."

BOM warned that wild weather conditions would remain in place throughout the rest of the week.

"With the snow melting over the road, we're expecting quite a few cold mornings coming up. So in many cases that may well re-freeze and leave some black ice and icy conditions."

Featured image credit: BOM Tasmania

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