Australia’s warm start to spring is set to evaporate before the weekend as several severe weather warnings are issued for the east coast.
Australia’s warm start to spring is set to evaporate as a strong cold front marches across the nation’s southeast on Friday.
Heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and possible hail is set to wreak havoc along the east coast, with severe weather warnings in place for damaging winds and flooding.
Meteorologist Jackson Browne said heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding would develop over the nation’s southeast states on Friday.
He said a significant cold front that tapped into a band of tropical moisture moved east into Victoria, Tasmania and western NSW overnight.
A severe weather waring for damaging winds has been issued for Victoria’s alpine regions, including the Dandenong and Yarra Ranges, Mt Buller, Mt Baw Baw, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek.
A flood watch has also been issued for the northeast, central and Gippsland regions of Victoria, with minor to isolated moderate flooding possible in 22 rivers and catchments from Saturday morning.
Rain began to lash Melbourne early Friday afternoon, with grey skies marking an end to beautiful sunny spring weather earlier this week.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Matthew Thomas said temperatures over the weekend would drop significantly, with rainfall to continue and a chance of thunderstorms.
“Once that change does push through we will see temperatures drop back quite considerably over the weekend, and temperatures in the mid-teens are more likely through the weekend,” he said.
“Melbourne on Friday will see rain and it could be heavy at times during the afternoon with a chance of some thunderstorms until late afternoon.
“We’re looking at around 20-30mm generally, but we might see some isolated higher totals, particularly if there are thunderstorms.”
The rainfall and dreary weather is expected to continue blanketing the state until mid next week, with clear skies and warmer weather not expected until Wednesday.
Mr Thomas said the rain would remain but ease off to isolated showers throughout Monday and Tuesday.
In NSW, a severe weather warning for damaging winds has been issued for parts of the Snowy Mountains, while a moderate to minor flood warning is in place for the Lachlan River.
“In Victoria and NSW, damaging winds with gusts of 110km/h to 120km/h are possible over alpine areas, with gusts of 90km/h expected over the northern suburbs of Melbourne and the Dandenongs,” Mr Browne said.
“The front continues to progress east into NSW on Saturday and Sunday, and a low pressure system may form in the east of Bass Strait over the weekend – this will lead to increased rainfall over the Gippsland region.”
Mr Browne said rainfall totals of 10mm to 25mm were expected over the southeast through until Sunday, with 50mm to 100mm expected in Gippsland and the alpine areas of both NSW and Victoria.
He said snow melt from the “relatively warm rains” would cause secondary flows and prolonged flood issues.
Senior meteorologist Tom Delamotte said the windy conditions would gradually contract eastwards across Victoria throughout Friday.
He said the “unseasonally” warm start to spring, where it reached 32.5C at Mildura in the state’s northwest on Thursday and hadn’t been that hot “this soon after winter before” on record, would give way to colder temperatures as the front arrived.
“The combination of a southwesterly wind change and also a band of rain is going to drop temperatures very significantly,” he said.
Mr Delamotte said maximum temperatures would only reach 13C to 14C in Victoria’s southwest on Friday, while Melbourne would drop from 23C at about 1pm to 11C by 5pm as the rain arrives.
He said the cooler temperatures would hang around over the weekend, with maximum temperatures in the low to mid teens in Victoria.
“We could see some wintry hail around in western parts of Victoria, so it really is a cold air mass coming in behind this rain band and certainly a return to wintry conditions over the weekend,” Mr Delamotte said.
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