Don’t put away your puffer jackets just yet! Hot on the heels of Canberra’s warmest July average temperature is a polar blast this week that will have the region reaching for the winter woollies.
A deep cold front will focus its energy on Southern inland NSW on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, bringing the best chance this winter of snow falling and possibly settling in the capital.
Areas surrounding the ACT such as Corin Forest, Mt Franklin Road and south of Tharwa towards Adaminaby are likely hot spots for snowfalls, while areas to the north around Crookwell may also be worth a drive.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts for the Alps and Snowy Mountains are for truckloads of snow to fall, from today (Wednesday) through to Monday next week. The biggest falls of snow will hit the Snowy Mountains between Thursday and Saturday. Westerly and northwesterly winds of between 40 and 70 km/h are also predicted.
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Forecast data is also continually suggesting that Canberra will see snowfalls from this system.
In the ACT very strong cold westerly winds should develop Thursday night and they may reach damaging strengths of up to 90km/h on Friday especially on the ranges. Canberra will have bone-chilling tops of just 9 degrees with a 5-10deg wind chill.
Southern NSW will see strong westerly winds of 60-70km/r across the state on Thursday. These winds could even stir up some dust storms inland. Wind speeds could reach damaging strengths of 100km/r across the South East, Central Ranges and possibly even the Northern ranges from Thursday to Saturday.
Any bush fires that start could also become very dangerous due to the dry conditions and very strong winds.
Veteran meteorologist Clem Davis said that after we shivered through the coldest May temperatures in 20 years, Canberra recorded the warmest July maximum temperature on record of 13.7 degrees. He said while the cold front heading our way this week will definitely bring snow to the mountains, it’s unlikely to settle in Canberra.
“We tend to be in a bit of a rain shadow here in Canberra and we’re just not quite high enough, so if we do get snow, it could be overnight and it doesn’t usually last long.
“Certainly the higher areas could see some snow flurries in Canberra depending on when those snow systems come through,” Mr Davis said.
He added that the higher July average temperatures were in line with a trend that hasn’t changed in the past 24 years.
“So for 24 years, we haven’t had a July daily maximum temperature below the average. That’s beyond cyclic and well outside natural variations,” Mr Davis said.
If the capital does receive snowfall, it will have Canberrans recalling the last decent falls in May 2000 when the Canberra Raiders played the Balmain Tigers at Canberra Stadium on a very chilly Sunday afternoon.