Impressive weekend of weather in Australia's southeast
Ben Domensino, Mon 16 Apr 2018
A series of strong cold fronts caused a mixed bag of remarkable weather across Australia's southeast during the weekend.
After a prolonged spell of unusually summer-like weather in southeastern Australia last week, a series of strong fronts brought autumn back with a blast on the weekend.
Autumn is typically a time of year when southeastern Australia experiences turbulent weather, caused by the interaction of hot air from northern Australia and colder air moving up from the Southern Ocean.
As these contrasting air masses clash, the atmosphere tries to balance things out by producing powerful winds, heavy rain, violent thunderstorms, hail and snow. The weekend just gone featured all of these, as well as bushfires, dust storms and mesmerising cloud formations.
In South Australia, strong winds preceding the fronts whipped up dust storms late last week. Welcome rain then dampened parched soils in the state's south as the fronts brought the best falls since last winter.
Neptune Island registered a wind gust of 115km/h on Saturday morning, which was the highest for the state over the weekend. Mt Lofty's 64.6mm during the 72 hours to 9am on Monday was its heaviest three-day total since July last year.
Tasmania withstood the strongest winds during the last three days, with Maatsuyker Island registering a gust of 163km/h and Mt Wellington 145km/h early on Monday morning. This was Maatsuyker Island's strongest gust in three years and their strongest this early in the year since 2008.
In Victoria, damaging winds lashed the state on Saturday and Sunday, with gusts reaching up to 128km/h at Wilsons Promontory. The fronts also brought welcome rain across most of the state. Mount Buller's 137mm during the 48 hours to 9am today was its heaviest two-day total since December and the wettest pair of April days on record.
Much of the weekend's rain fell as snow in the mountain of Tasmania and the mainland alps.
Further north, hot and dry westerly winds caused bushfires to spread across parts of eastern NSW. These included two large fires in Sydney's north and south, one of which had burnt through nearly 3,000 hectares of land between Casula and Menai as of Monday morning.
One of the more pleasant sights from the weekend were mammatus clouds over central NSW on Saturday. Light from the setting sun caused the rare cloud formation to turn orange, creating a captivating scene as lightning struck the ground below. The storms from this system caused hail in parts of central and northern NSW, while blustery winds also produced dust storms in the state's south and west.
Conditions are easing for most of Australia's southeast today, although the final front of the series will bring another burst of rain, snow and blustery winds to Tasmania. Thankfully, calmer weather will return to the southern state from Tuesday.
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