Australia Weather: Polar Surge and La Niña Winter on the Way
Multiple weather systems are set to combine to bring an exceptionally cold and wet start to winter across much of Australia.
A ‘polar surge’ is forecast to sweep across the south of the country from Antarctica and eventually reach as high as Queensland, bringing freezing temperatures, winds and snow as low as 1000m above sea level.
Wet weather is also not expected to abate, and La Niña is expected to last well into winter.
A similar system off the west coast of Australia, the Indian Ocean Dipole, is also causing problems in WA and will contribute to increased precipitation.
Weatherzone meteorologist Joel Pippard said the icy blast of Antarctic air will first hit low-lying Western Australia before moving east to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney and then north over the country.
A blast of icy Antarctic air is moving over Australia and will reach WA and move into the eastern states by the weekend (pictured)
“Once it gets close to Australia on Saturday, this setting of cold air hitting moisture can be very conducive to heavy low-lying snow,” Pippard said.
He said a moisture-laden subtropical low off Western Australia and a Tasmanian low off the east coast will combine with cold air.
“There are three systems in total that need to be aligned, so the details (of rain and snow) will vary in the coming days,” he said.
Sydney will see temperatures hovering in the 10s to 20s during the week and rain is likely over the weekend when the gust of cold air arrives.
Similar but slightly cooler conditions are forecast for Melbourne, with highs around 17C, while Adelaide will see similar temperatures but rain this week.
Research shows that the La Niña system, which began 18 months ago and has hit Australia with record rains and flooding, has a higher-than-average chance of sticking through September.
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University and the US Climate Prediction Center said there was a 63 percent chance that La Niña would occur during the winter and a 58 percent percent probability that the system will continue into the spring.
Residents of Sydney and Melbourne will have to prepare for a flurry of winter this week and La Niña rain could stick around until September (pictured: a Sydneysider braves the cold)
April ended up being another wet month in Sydney with 267.2mm on the gauge, while May has also been relatively wet with 147.8mm as of 9am this morning, spread over 13 rainy days.
The Bureau of Meteorology agrees with the latest weather controllers update issued Tuesday and also forecasts that La Niña will remain well into winter.
“La Niña indicators, including tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures and equatorial cloud cover, have seen little change over the past two weeks,” the office said.
The west coast, which has not been greatly affected by La Niña, could also see more rain.
‘The Indian Ocean Dipole is currently neutral. However, the IOD index has turned more negative over the last fortnight,” BOM said.
The Bureau said all climate outlook models form a consensus that a negative pattern would develop in this system in winter.
“A negative IOD increases the chance of above-average winter to spring precipitation across much of Australia.”
More rain is likely after one of Sydney’s wettest years on record (image: Sydney in February)
A map showing the forecast temperature difference from the averages for this period
Starting Tuesday, more rain and gale-force winds are expected across southern WA to the coast and Victoria Ranges.
Exceptionally cold weather appears to have arrived in Tasmania by now, with the state hitting its third lowest autumn temperature on record.
The city of Liawenee, on the Great Lake of Tasmania, reached minus 9.9 ° C at 7:20 a.m. on Tuesday, which is also the lowest temperature in the state since 2010.
Hobart was kept warmer by cloud cover, reaching a low of 6.8°C at 8:15 a.m.
The official ski season starts on June 12, but resorts like Perisher and Thredbo in the Australian Alps are already seeing good snow temperatures.
Thredbo hit a low of -4C on Wednesday and will hit a high of 7C, while Mt Hotham in Victoria saw temperatures between 2C and 6C.
Perisher could see up to 40cm of fresh dust in the next 10 days, while Mt Hotham and Falls Creek could reach 50cm.
Perisher’s iconic Man From Snowy River Hotel has already had a good snowfall with more than two weeks to go until the start of the ski season (pictured)
THE WEATHER IN YOUR CITY
Wednesday Mostly sunny. maximum 21
Thursday Mostly sunny. Min 10 Max 23
Partly cloudy Friday. Min 11 Max 23
Saturday Mostly sunny. Min 10 Max twenty-one
Wednesday Rains. maximum 19
Thursday Rains. Min 13 Max 19
Friday Possible shower. Min 10 Max 18
Saturday Shower or two. Min 9 Max 17
Wednesday Mostly sunny. maximum 19
Thursday Rains. Min 12 Max 17
Friday showers. Min 12 Max 17
Saturday Possible shower in the morning. Min 9 Max 16
Sunny Wednesday. maximum 16
Thursday Shower or two later. Min 6 Max 16
Friday Shower or two. Min 8 Max fifteen
Saturday Possible early shower. Min 6 Max 14
Wednesday Foggy morning. Max16
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 5 Max 17
Partly cloudy Friday. Min 4 Max 18
Saturday Possible shower. Min 5 Max 16
Wednesday Possible storm in the morning. showers. Max20
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 12 Max twenty-one
Partly cloudy Friday. Min 11 Max twenty-one
Saturday Shower or two. Min 12 Max 22
Wednesday Rains increasing. maximum 23
Thursday Rains. Min 16 Max twenty-one
Friday Shower or two. Min 15 Max 23
Saturday Mostly sunny. Min 15 Max 25
Sunny Wednesday. maximum 33
Sunny Thursday. Min 22 Max 33
sunny friday. Min 22 Max 3. 4
Sunny Saturday. Min 22 Max 33