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Snowing in Oz for Xmas


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YOU will not often see a summer snow report, but Thredbo issued one yesterday after that most unseasonal Australian sight: a white Christmas.

In a day of wildly contrasting weather, four centimetres of snow fell on the NSW alpine town, Victoria was hit by hail, five centimetres of snow fell on the summit of Mount Wellington, behind Hobart, and high temperatures sent Queenslanders to the beach.

As Sydney enjoyed a top temperature of 27 degrees - the near-average for December - Melburnians endured their coldest Christmas Day on record.

Melbourne could muster only a maximum of 14.5 degrees and a minimum 8.5 degrees as snow, hail and thunderstorms swept through Victoria.

The thin blanket of snow brought some respite as bushfires continued to ravage the state.

Ian Campbell, of Thredbo Alpine Resort, said more snow was expected to fall in the area last night. "It is pretty rare - we've had considerable snow for periods of the day," he said. "We had a white Christmas for about an hour, and the guests have been loving it."

A cold front coming up from the Southern Ocean was behind the cooler weather, said the Bureau of Meteorology's senior forecaster, Bob Moore.

"We've just had a cold front move through, with cold air coming up from south and west of Tasmania in the Southern Ocean. It could be a bit windy on the far South Coast tomorrow for the [sydney to Hobart] yachties, although they may not get down that far during the day."

Mr Moore said Sydney was set for a partly cloudy Boxing Day of 21 degrees, and there is no repeat expected of last year's ferocious New Year's Day heat.

"We're going through a slightly cooler, milder spell," he said.

"We don't seem to have any hot north-westerlies on the way in the near future. It looks like it will be more warm and humid than on the hot and dry side."

In Brisbane a muggy Christmas morning led to a top temperature of 32 degrees, with the warm conditions sending locals and tourists to the beach.

Cooler weather meant smaller beach crowds in Sydney, with only 10,000 people reported at Bondi Beach yesterday, a quarter of its usual Christmas crowd.

Christmas Eve brought much needed rain to some parts of NSW. Drought-hit Goulburn received 27.8 millimetres, with similar useful falls recorded in the Central West.

With AAP

Now living the life in Childers, Queensland.

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