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Monday 29 May 2000

SE Australia cold outbreak enters fourth day
The third cold air pulse of the present cold outbreak surged over western Tasmania and Victoria late this afternoon, freshening winds and bringing more snow to low levels. Earlier in the day, yesterday's second pulse pushed through into northern NSW bringing widespread snowfalls and icy roads, while snow continued for much of the period on the NSW and Victorian Alps and nearby areas.

New South Wales

The day dawned to reports of heavy snow on parts of the NSW Northern Tablelands, with the main New England and Oxley highways closed by snow and black ice in the Walcha/ Bendemeer/ Armidale area. The connecting road between Walcha and Uralla was reported to be closed by 30cm of snow. Snow also fell on the Dorrigo Plateau and westwards to Armidale, and farther north from Guyra to Glen Innes. The Barrington Tops behind Gloucester also recorded snow. Top temperatures across northern and northwestern NSW were between 8 and 11 below average, with Coonabarabran's top of 8.1 some 11.2 below. Dubbo experienced its coldest May day on record when the mercury only reached 8.9. Earlier, Byron Bay and Wollongong recorded record low minimum temperatures.

Maximum temperatures today continued to be well below average across much of the continent.

In the Snowy Mountains, snow ploughs worked overnight to keep roads open, though the Perisher Valley to Charlotte Pass road and the Cabramurra to Khancoban road are closed, probably for the season. Charlotte Pass reported a snow depth of 110cm at 9am, and Thredbo had 35cm in the Village. Light snow continued overnight in the Tumbarumba area to the west. Farther east, on the Monaro Plains, snow was widespread overnight closing roads this morning including the Snowy Mountains Highway at Brown Mountain between Bega and Nimmitabel, where four semi-trailers became stranded in snow and ice near the top of the mountain. Chains were required on the Highway between Cooma and Talbingo.

Light snow and sub-zero temperatures continued in the state's Central West, with the Mitchell Highway between Bathurst and Orange, Bells Line of Road east of Lithgow and the Goulburn to Crookwell road closed, along with many secondary roads in the area. Drifts to 1 metre in depth were reported by the Oberon Bureau observer.

Victoria

Travel problems continued in many parts of the state today with icy roads and fallen or dangerous trees and branches the main difficulty. Roads in the Beechworth area remained closed or hazardous, with schools in the area closed. In the high country around Ballarat, Bendigo and Gisborne, snow and ice led to minor accidents. The Falls Creek Bureau observer reported a snow depth of 100cm at 9am. Gales continued in Bass Strait and around the coast and in the high country, beginning to ease by early evening. The arrival of the third pulse of colder air from the south late in the afternoon briefly strengthened winds, with Port Fairy recording a top gust of 94km/h just before 7pm. Some heavy hail showers were reported in Melbourne late evening, with hail 2 to 3cm deep at Murrumbeena in the city's southeast and 1 to 2cm deep at the Yallambie Rd/Lower Plenty Rd intersection. Lightning struck signal controls at Heidelberg causing lengthy delays. Some flash flooding was also reported in the area with unofficial falls up to 55mm.

Tasmania

Light snow continued above about 800m in central, western and northeastern parts of the state, with hail showers to sea level through the day. Winds freshened during the afternoon as the third pulse of colder air brushed the state's west coast, with Cape Grim in the northwest reporting a gust of 113km/h at 4pm. With most of the action taking place to the west of Tasmania, the state has been spared heavy snowfalls, and temperatures have remained relatively mild at only 3 to 6 below normal.

Low temperatures in the north

Minimum temperatures across central and southern Queensland this morning were 8 to 12 below average, causing a raft of May records to fall.
As the cold outbreak pushed farther into Queensland and the Northern Territory, minimum temperatures plummeted overnight under clear skies and with low humidity. New May low temperature records were set at many locations, as the temperatures up to 12 below average were recorded. Brisbane Airport recorded its lowest May minimum since records began in 1949 when the temperature dropped to 4.3, with a reading of -1.0 on the grass. Springsure, in the Great Dividing Range 250km WSW of Rockhampton, recorded a record minimum of -1.3, 11.8 below normal, while records were also broken at Clermont, Richmond, Isisford, Longreach and Baralaba, and possibly more locations.

Today's highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am

61.4 Palmers Lookout Port Arthur Tas
52.0 Scott's Peak Dam Tas
49.4 Monbulk Bulb Farm Vic
48.8 Zeehan Tas

Today's highest & lowest temps

Other extremes

Rainfall:
Norfolk Is AP: 21mm in 3h to noon

Wind gusts:
Bellambi NSW: 89km/h at 5.30pm
South Channel Is, Port Phillip Vic: 102km/h at 2.29am
Aireys Inlet Vic: 85km/h at 5.37pm
Port Fairy Vic: 94km/h at 6.53pm
Cape Grim Tas: 113km/h at 4pm

Records set this day

Lowest minimum temperature for May (previous record and years of computer record shown in brackets):
Giles WA: 2.0 (2.4, 45)
Centre Island NT: 15.6 (16.5, 26)
Richmond PO Qld: 2.4 (3.0, 43)
Clermont PO Qld: 1.0 (1.4, 40)
Springsure Qld: -1.3 (-1.1, 34)
Isisford PO Qld: 1.4 (2.0 40)
Longreach AP Qld: 1.0 (1.9, 35)
Baralaba PO Qld: 1.1 (2.8, 30)
Brisbane AP Qld: 4.3 (4.7, 51)
Cape Byron LH NSW:
6.5 (8.8, 23)
Wollongong Uni NSW: 0.5 (3.1, 30)

Lowest maximum temperature for May (previous record and date shown in brackets):
Dubbo AP NSW: 8.9 (9.9, 31/5/1969). There has been a site change here.

(Thanks to Blair Trewin for low maximum details.)

 

Maximum Minimum
31.0 Kuri Bay WA 25.3 Horn Is Qld
-4.0 Crackenback NSW -10.5 Charlotte Pass NSW

Greatest variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
+2.5
28.2 Te Kowai Exp Stn Mackay Qld
+3.5
12.0 Ceduna AP SA
-11.2
8.1 Coonabarabran NSW
-11.1
6.0 Woolbrook NSW
-10.9
8.3 Dunedoo NSW
-11.8
-1.3 Springsure Qld
-11.5
0.5 Wollongong Uni NSW
-11.4
1.1 Baralaba Qld

  • Times stated are the clock time in force in the relevant state or territory

  • Stories, including those in the archives, are as new and corrected information becomes available, with updates underlined

  • Australian Weather News gratefully acknowledges the Bureau of Meteorology as the collector and main source of meteorological data in Australia, along with the thousands of observers who record the weather and rainfall daily. I also thank Don White and the many contributors to the Aussie Weather mailing list who routinely provide much appreciated information.