Winter arrives with icy blast

WINTER has arrived across the east coast of Australia as icy blasts send temperatures plummeting.

A cold, windy and snowy start has led to plenty of snow across the country, and Tasmania is no different, with snow falls on the central plateau and across alpine regions. Bureau of Meterology meteorologist Alex Melitsis said by the end of the week elevated and susceptible roads were expected to be impacted by snow and may be impassable to many vehicles.

There is also an increasing risk of black ice across the state. Snow was predicted to fall to around 300-500 metres during the week with lower falls likely over the long weekend which will experience the coldest temperatures of the spell.

Mr Melitsis said the blast of cold air would be accompanied by fresh and gusty south-westerly winds with gusts of around 100km/h expected across parts of the west, south and central highlands today and could potentially spread across the whole state on Saturday.

Temperatures dropped to -4.2°C on Mt Wellington on Tuesday morning, the coldest temperature this month, but still well short of the -9.9°C recorded in Liawenee in late May. Other temperature extremes were recorded in Ross (-3.0°C on June 2) and Tunnack (-2.0°C on June 2).

Rainfalls in excess of 50mm were recorded at Scotts Peak Dam in the south-west and at Mt Victoria in the north-east. Strong winds and the associated wind chill factors have led to the BOM to issue a warning to graziers across Tasmania, with 120kmh winds recorded at Cape Grim last weekend.

TFGA President Ian Sauer said the cold and wet weather had hit Tasmanian farmers earlier than anticipated. “Farmers deal with variations in climate all the time, but this blast of prolonged cold weather is certainly earlier than we’re used to. “We’ve had farmers dealing with snow in the highlands for some time now, and there’s definitely more on the way.”

“The wet weather has been a big disruptor to those trying to get the last of their potatoes off, those with livestock have been needing to increase feeding quite significantly.”

“With the rains, the wind and the snow, farmers are needed to increase the feed to their stock to keep their energy up.”

Showers, brisk winds and alpine snow is expected to continue for the coming days, with below-average temperatures.