Cold weather to bring plunging temperatures across Australia

Brisbane experiences chilliest day of year so far as dry cool air pushes across Queensland

Large parts of Australia face a cold snap this week with Queensland expecting the coldest days of the year as minimum temperatures drop to single digits in some parts of the state.

The wintry weather had already arrived in southern and central Queensland on Tuesday. Brisbane city experienced its coldest day of the year so far, hitting a minimum temperature of 9.1C.

But most parts of Queensland won’t experience their coldest morning until Thursday, with temperatures in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and parts of the Sunshine Coast expected to drop again to 6C.

According to the Queensland Bureau of Meteorology, the granite belt, which borders New South Wales, and high altitude parts of the state, such as the Carnarvon Range in central Queensland, are expected to fall to sub-zero temperatures come Thursday.

A Queensland BoM meteorologist, Peter Markworth, said the sudden cold snap was caused by dry and cool air being pushed over southern and central Queensland, affecting the humidity levels responsible for the state’s relatively warm temperatures.

“It pushes away the moisture in the air,” Markworth said. “The humidity in the air tends to make things a bit stickier and warmer … moisture tends to insulate things and keep the minimum and maximum temperatures quite close together.

“But when dry air comes, the range in temperatures becomes larger.”

While the BoM previously forecasted “snow flurries” in parts of the granite belt this morning, it appears that any snow melted before it hit the ground, resulting in light rainfall.

But Markworth said meteorologists are expecting widespread frost over the next few days as far north as inland Mackay, especially on the Clarke Range, and in central districts.

Queensland residents should expect similar cold snaps throughout winter, according to Markworth, as south-westerly winds push bursts of cold and dry air towards the state before high and low pressure systems move it across the continent.

“It’s a toing and froing of temperatures, with dry air moving in and out,” he said.

Around the country, most states are in for a cold and rainy rest of the week, according to the BoM.

Sydney forecasts show mostly sunny days and lows of 8C and 9C on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, with a chance of showers come Friday.

Hobart residents should brace for up to 30mm of rain on Tuesday, with wet conditions expected to continue through Wednesday and Thursday and temperatures forecast to drop to 5C by Friday.

Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide can also expect rain and temperature drops over the next few days, with forecasted lows of 8C, 7C and 6C, respectively.

But Canberra is forecast to face some of the coldest conditions in the country, with temperatures expected to fall to 0C on Wednesday and -1C on Friday.


Justine Landis-Hanley

The GuardianTramp

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