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Tuesday 15 August 2000

Snow, storms and cold across the southeast
Yet another mass of cold southern air poured across Tasmania, Victoria and the southern extremities of SA and NSW today. An initial cold front crossed the area overnight, with the coldest air accompanying a second surge that crossed Tasmania and Victoria during daylight hours.

In Victoria, the midday temperature at Cape Otway Lighthouse, 170km SW of Melbourne, was only 5 in the wake of the second front which gave heavy hail showers and squally winds to Melbourne suburbs and across the state's south and east. Late afternoon snow was reported by the Ballarat Airport observer, while snow or hail up to 2cm deep caused treacherous conditions on the main highway through and east of the city. The radiosonde balloon ascent from Melbourne Airport at 9pm showed a temperature of -13.3 at 700hPa (2.9km) and -31.9 at 500hPa (5.4km), both around 7 below average. In the state's northeast, 20 to 35mm of rain below the snowline in the Alps caused minor flooding along the Kiewa River and the upper Murray upstream from Lake Hume. The rain caused flooding across the Murray Valley Highway at five places near Barnawatha, and a rock slide on the Great Alpine Road near Smoko south of Bright. Meanwhile, the Mitta Mitta River was in minor flood as the rain topped up preliminary releases of water from Dartmouth Dam in preparation for major runoff expected when the heavy snow cover across the Alps thaws.

In Tasmania, snow fell to the 500m level and was reported from Maydena during the day at an elevation of just 275m. In the NSW Snowy Mountains, heavy snow fell throughout the day, raising the snow depth in Thredbo Village from nothing yesterday morning to 50cm by mid afternoon. Mount Gambier in far southeastern South Australia reported hail showers through the day and a noon temperature of 6.2

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

36.0 Orbost Vic
35.0 Lord Howe Is NSW
30.0 Harrietville Vic
29.6 Club Terrace Vic

High falls for other periods:

NSW:
Lord Howe Is:
33mm in 6h to 3am
Perisher Valley: 36mm in 24h to 3pm

Today's highest & lowest temps

Other extremes

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Records set this day

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Maximum Minimum
35.0 Kalumburu WA
35.0 Fitzroy Crossing AP WA
23.2 Horn Island Qld
-4.0 Crackenback NSW -6.0 Glen Innes AP NSW

Greatest variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
+5.9
27.0 Meekatharra AP WA
+6.8
14.0 Carnamah WA
-7.3
7.0 Wagga Wagga SCS NSW
-8.5
-2.0 Amberley AP Qld