Blizzard conditions are on their way for large parts of New South Wales and Victoria’s alpine areas as a “vigorous” cold front bring cold showers, strong winds, and frigid temperatures. At the same time, South Australia has been hit by torrential rain.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued severe weather warnings for damaging wind gusts and blizzard conditions for southern NSW and much of Victoria, with peaks of up to 130km/h likely over Alpine areas.
In Victoria, blizzard conditions were forecast over Alpine areas above 1,400m, dropping to 1,000m later on Sunday, with Warrnambool, Maryborough, Castlemaine, Kyneton, Ballarat, and Bacchus Marsh all potentially affected.
An earlier warning said that damaging winds could also be expected across southern coastal areas, with central areas forecast to face damaging wind gusts over 90km/h.
⚠️DAMAGING WIND GUSTS over central inland Victoria & southern coastal areas. BLIZZARD conditions over alpine regions. Significant wind gusts include: Mt Buller 111km/h @ 5:52amFalls Creek 102km/h @ 06:26amMt William 96km/h @ 1:34 am #VicWeatherDetails: https://t.co/mVDtDzy4M4 pic.twitter.com/9INCfJIn0k
— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) June 4, 2022
The bureau recorded wind gusts above 90km/h at Mount William, Mount Butler, Mount Hotham Airport, and Falls Creek.
The State Emergency Service urged residents to avoid travel if possible and to stay indoors and away from windows.
“If outdoors, move to a safe place indoors. Stay away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks, and waterways,” it said in a statement. “If driving conditions are dangerous, safely pull away from trees, drains, low-lying areas, and floodwater.”
In NSW, blizzard conditions were forecast for parts of the Snowy Mountains above 1,900m, dropping to around 1,500m later on Sunday, and could affect areas including Thredbo, Perisher, Charlottes Pass, Nowra, Bowral, Braidwood, Katoomba, Lithgow, Goulburn, and Cooma.
Snow was expected to fall on the Alps above 1,300m on Sunday and persist throughout the week.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service recommended postponing all back-country travel until conditions improved.
The cold front has brought north-westerly winds to NSW, which was due to extend over south-east NSW on Sunday. A second burst of stronger westerly winds was forecast to hit NSW on Sunday evening and persist into Monday.
Damaging winds averaging 80-90 kph were expected across the state’s southeast, continuing into Monday.
Winds up to 60-70 kph were forecast for Sydney and Katoomba, easing early on Monday.
The SES warned NSW residents to move vehicles to cover or away from trees and to keep at least 8m from fallen power lines or objects that might be energized, such as fences.
Maximum temperatures are expected to remain below average well into next week, with Sydney and Melbourne likely to see minimums below 10C until Saturday.
On Sunday, Adelaide recorded some of its heaviest rainfall this year, with the bureau reporting 80mm at Woodhouse and 70mm at Ashton.
Strong winds have also lashed parts of South Australia, with gusts of 102 km at Noarlunga and 96 km at Point Avoid.
The bureau said more heavy rain could fall over saturated catchments at Adelaide Metro, Mount Lofty Ranges, and the Mid North district, with flash flooding possible.
The SES said it had responded to 266 jobs by Sunday lunchtime, having responded to 127 on Saturday, with around 100 yet to be addressed.
A spokesperson said there might be delays in attending to some jobs as difficult weather conditions continued throughout the day.