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Australia: Winter ‘soaking’ for the southeast

Parts of southeastern Australia record their heaviest August rain in over a decade.

A strong cold front passed over Victoria and New South Wales yesterday afternoon and evening, generating areas of rain, damaging winds and the odd isolated thunderstorm.

Persistent areas of rain have led to some impressive 24 hour totals, with Balranald receiving the heaviest August total in 11 years with 14mm collecting in the can. Castlemaine managed to receive 15mm, the heaviest August rain since 2010, followed by Mt Hotham, Khancoban and Gundagai which all saw their most substantial August rain since 2011.

The greatest totals were confined over Victoria’s North East and the New South Wales Snowy Mountains, where between widespread falls of 25-35mm were collected. Geehi airstrip managed to top the list however with 44mm falling to 9am today. Elsewhere, Bendigo’s 17mm makes it the heaviest day of rain since early November.

As the afternoon turned to night, a cooling airmass allowed this moisture to fall as snow over the resorts, with Thredbo picking up a welcome 10-15cm overnight. It wasn’t all smooth sailing over the Alps however, as north/northwesterly wind gusts ahead of the front strengthened to 117km/h at Thredbo Top Station. Mt Hotham saw destructive gusts of 137km/h during the afternoon making for some very unpleasant conditions.

Although the winds have eased somewhat, visibility will be poor at times on the mountains with continuing snow showers, cloud and gusty bursts. By Tuesday, we should see a brief reprieve in winds, with good cover on the ground.

– Guy Dixon, Weatherzone


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