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Cold snap brings unseasonal snow to parts of southeast Australia

unseasonal-snow-australia-december-2020

Unseasonal snow has fallen in Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania on December 7, 2020, as the Australian states are gripped by a cold snap after half of the continent sweltered through a record heatwave. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, (BOM), the snow was caused by a cold air mass moving across the country's southeast.

In Victoria, ski resort Mt. Buller was engulfed by snow as flurries descended on slopes. The resort's marketing manager, David Clark, described the scenery as "magical."

"Snow at this time of year is not unheard of," he told NCA NewsWire. "It probably snows a couple of times throughout summer each year. But to have it in December, so close to Christmas, was really nice."

According to the BOM, the cold front reinforced wintry conditions across the state, forecasting showers, small hail, and snow across the ranges until Tuesday, December 8.

BOM meteorologist Matthew Thomas a cold air mass moving across southeast Australia is to blame for the unusually wintry weather.

Although in the middle of summer, temperatures are expected to drop between 5 and 8 °C (41 and 46.4 °F) inland and up to 10 °C (50 °F) about the coast.

In New South Wales, snow is also forecast for the alpine region, along with some thunderstorms in the northeast and southeast of the state.

"Yes, it is summer, but there is snow on the forecast for the alpine region," stated BOM NSW.

In Tasmania, heavy snow overnight blanketed the ground and trees. Great Lake Hotel posted photos of the scene on Facebook, showing whiteout conditions– all this after Australia had its hottest November on record, and half of the country broke temperature records amid a heatwave.

BOM meteorologist Glen Perrin told 9News that it was unusual.

"I'm not sure you'd say it's usual. It's not especially low– say around 500 m (1 640 feet) above sea level, that would be very unusual," he said, adding that snow had fallen at about 800 m (2 625 feet) at its lowest.

Featured image credit: John Warden/Great Lake Hotel

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