A cold front whipping along Australia’s east coast has dashed hopes of a lingering summer with snow forecast for elevated areas and single-digit temperatures expected overnight for most of Victoria.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a frost warning for parts of north-western Victoria and expects temperatures to drop 5-10C as the change moves east.
But the air temperature will feel colder still, with rain, strong winds and even hail forecast.
It is expected that many parts of Victoria will record the coldest night of the year overnight into Wednesday before the front gradually loses force as it moves north.
“As we get further into autumn you can begin to see more wintry-type fronts, but obviously the first couple can be a bit of a shock,” the bureau’s Victorian senior forecaster, Richard Russell, said.
“At this particular time of the year, you can expect one every couple of weeks.”
Mount Hotham is forecast to reach a low of -5C with the regional centre of Ballarat forecast to battle to 1C. Melbourne is expected to reach a comparatively balmy 8C although parts of the city will be closer to 3C. Snow is expected as low as 1,100 metres.
Victoria, Tasmania, north-east South Australia and southern NSW will feel the cold front the harshest, Russell said.
The cold winds that are a feature of the front are being pushed out over the Tasman Sea so are unlikely to drastically impact as far north as Sydney, but residents could expect a colder morning.
On Tuesday, the bureau also released the numbers behind the devastating flooding that hit parts of coastal New South Wales and Sydney last month.
In a special climate statement, the bureau said the week ending 24 March was the wettest for the NSW coast since national daily records began in 1900.
The most exceptional aspect of the event was the spatial extent of the heavy rainfall, both in coastal and inland areas. Almost the entire NSW coast experienced heavy rain.
The bureau looked at records going back to 1900 for the coastal region – the area that drains into the Tasman Sea. Across the region an average 252.9mm of rain fell, beating the previous record of 240.4mm set from 7-13 February 2020.
Since 1900, there have been only 53 occasions when the coast had an average rainfall above 50mm in one day. But the week ending 24 March had five of those days. The bureau’s statement said several weather and climate systems had combined to deliver the drenching.
But the statement also said that natural drivers of the downpour “were set against the background of the long-term trend”.
As the climate gets hotter “Australia’s heavy rainfall events are expected to become more intense as moisture in the atmosphere increases by about 7% per degree of warming”.
There was already evidence, the bureau said, that a higher proportion of Australia’s total annual rainfall was coming from heavy rainfall days.