A reporter has nearly lost her umbrella and been knocked off her feet as Melbourne’s infamous wild weather wreaks havoc in the race that stops the country.
ABC reporter Steph Ferrier returned to the studio just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, hoping to give a thorough account of what was going on at Flemington Racetrack — but the weather had other ideas.
Pouring rain, wind, and thunderstorms interrupted her living crotch, the gusts of wind almost ripping her large red-and-white umbrella out of her hand.
“It’s windy here at this stage. This is Melbourne’s worst weather. Do you think it was 30 degrees during the cup match last year,” Ferrier said.
‘We’ve just had a bit of hail, we’ve had rain and storms, you can see that. I can’t even really see the lens at this point and it’s a top of 14 degrees.
“As you can see at this point, unfortunately the weather hasn’t decided to come to the party for all these racers. I watch people with very soaked fascinators come in.
“Can you believe that there were sunbeams about half an hour ago before this stormy weather started.”
But the grim warning of wild weather hasn’t dampened the spirits of thousands of Melbourne Cup race-goers in Flemington.
The race that stops the nation will endure the coldest weather in decades with torrential rains, thunderstorms and hail ravaging Melbourne by mid-afternoon.
Glimpses of sunny clear blue skies greeted the first of 80,000 racers through the gates, despite warnings to pack a poncho or umbrella and dress warmly for the chilly or stormy conditions.
It will be sort of a four seasons-in-a-day event as the sky quickly turned gray with black clouds and late morning showers.
There’s a good chance that punters will be forced to take cover from the rain, hail and shivers in single-digit temperatures when the big race kicks off at 3 p.m.
Hot to trot: Dry but tumultuous conditions greeted Melbourne Cup riders as they arrived at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday before the weather quickly turned
Gloomy forecast: By late morning, dark storm clouds loomed over Flemington Racecourse
Wind turns northwest to southwest an hour before the race, according to Weather zone meteorologist James Rout.
‘As a result, it will feel much colder, and the clouds will increase even then, with showers and possible thunderstorms between 2 and 5 p.m. Since the rain will come in showers, there is a chance that showers will miss Flemington,’ he said.
“So race goers can be lucky. There’s a chance the worst weather could miss Flemington.
“But there’s also a good chance it will be a Melbourne Cup run in driving rain and possibly even minor hail, with temperatures not exceeding 10°C when the race jumps, and an apparent temperature (feels like temperature) that is yet to come.” is much colder.
‘It kind of depends on whether such a speckled cloud decides to park above the racecourse at 3 p.m. this afternoon. In weather, as in horse racing, the details are much harder to predict than the big picture.’
Melbourne will experience four seasons in one day on Tuesday with heavy rain and hail forecast for Tuesday afternoon
What rain! Patches of clear blue skies greeted race goers as they arrived in Flemington
Glad we packed the umbrella: the 80,000 racers dove away by the end of the morning
The sudden weather change is due to a strong cold front that passed over Victoria on Monday evening
The cold spell has brought snow to the Victorian Alps and moved it south of the border to the Snowy Mountains in southern NSW.
In Sydney, race-goers at Randwick Racecourse will do much better with a mostly sunny day and a high of 24C.
But further inland in NSW, temperatures have dropped, with snow expected in the Blue Mountains and in central-west Orange on Wednesday.
The icy blast is not expected to dampen enthusiasm in Melbourne as a cold front approaches and descends from the west temperatures six to 16 degrees below average.
It’s due to a huge pool of cold Antarctic air being flung northward by a deep low-pressure system near Tasmania.
The last time race-goers experienced a hot Melbourne Cup day was in 2014, when temperatures rose just above 29 degrees.
In 2020 the temperature on Cup Day was 30 degrees, but due to Covid-19 restrictions there were no crowds at Flemington.
This year marks the first time since 2019 that crowds have been allowed to return to Flemington for the big race.
While strong cold fronts outside of winter are not unknown in the southern states, this is a notable cold system for November because of its strength and duration.
The cold weather is likely to continue for the next few days.
Temperatures in southeastern Australia drop Tuesday
FOUR DAY WEATHER FORECAST IN YOUR CITY
Tuesday: Partly cloudy. Maximum 24
Wednesday: Sunny.Min11 Max21
Thursday: Partly cloudy. Min11 Max22
Friday: Shower or two clearings. Min12Max21
Tuesday: showers. Max14
Wednesday: Shower or two. Min7 Max15
Thursday: Shower or two clearings. Min9 Max15
Friday: Cloudy. Min9 Max17
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. Max23
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Min12Max26
Thursday: Mostly sunny.Min15Max31
Friday: Mostly sunny.Min15Max24
Tuesday: showers. Max15
Wednesday: Shower or two. Min10Max17
Thursday: Partly cloudy. Min11Max18
Friday: Partly cloudy.Min8Max19
Tuesday: Showers develop. Max15
Wednesday: late shower or two. Min5 Max14
Thursday: afternoon shower or two. Min6 Max14
Friday: Partly cloudy. Min8 Max18
Tuesday: showers. Max14
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Min3 Max13
Thursday: Partly cloudy.Min4 Max15
Friday: Partly cloudy. Min4 Max19
Tuesday: Clearing rain. Max25
Wednesday: Sunny. Windy. Min15Max25
Thursday: Sunny. Min13Max25
Friday: Possible shower. Min14 Max25
Tuesday: Partly cloudy.Max35
Wednesday: Sunny. Min27 Max35
Thursday: Showers. Possible thunderstorm. Min26 Max33
Friday: Shower or two. Possible thunderstorm. Min26 Max36