Aussies celebrate white Christmas
Three states that have endured bushfires in recent weeks – Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania – have today seen snow.
Paul Koenig at Victoria’s Mount Buller Chalet has spent the last week watching as fire blackened the foothills around the mountain in the state’s north-east. But now he says the summit is covered in about two centimetres of snow.
“I didn’t actually believe it until it actually came last night,” he said. “It was great – it sort of makes you feel like it is Christmas.”
Mr Koenig says the snow has transformed the mountain.
“It’s put the white cover across the buildings and the white cover over the ground, so it looks beautiful,” he said.
Temperatures in alpine areas like Mount Baw Baw, east of Melbourne, have plunged below zero. Melbourne weather forecaster Ward Rooney says below-zero temperatures in alpine areas can mean snow, no matter what time of year.
“Certainly, the air is cold enough for further snow to fall not only on the mountain peaks but a bit further down the mountain slopes…” he said. “There is a web cam at Lake Mountain which shows snow on the ground and another one at Mount Buller which shows a little bit of snow on the ground. The atmosphere is such that you’d expect during today to see snow above about the 900-metre level in southern Victoria.”
Brisk south-westerly winds have already brought hail and thunderstorms to east Melbourne. Light snow also fell at Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales this morning.
But local resident Acacia Rose says there have now been heavier falls from Thredbo through to the Crackenback Ridge. “I would imagine that if people are thinking of walking out to [Mount] Kosciusko today to delay that walk,” she said. “It’s very cold conditions and quite windy, and the visibility is low. And by this afternoon, there should be a good cover up on the main range.”
Meanwhile, people in Hobart are still heading up to the top of Mount Wellington in droves to enjoy a white Christmas. Snow has been falling this morning on the mountain and it is still only about two degrees at the summit. Many tourists are enjoying the cold, including those who are not strangers to snow at Christmas. One tourist told the ABC: “We’ve come all the way from England for a warm summer and here we are in the snow in Hobart, but we’re still enjoying it”.