White Christ­mas brings re­lief to south­ern fire­fronts

Townsville Bulletin - - Talk Of North -

RES­I­DENTS in two bush­fire-af­fected states have awo­ken to a white Christ­mas.

Snow has been recorded in alpine ar­eas in Vic­to­ria and Tas­ma­nia, which are still bat­tling fires that have black­ened thou­sands of hectares this month.

In Tas­ma­nia, the weather bureau re­ceived re­ports about five cen­time­tres of snow had fallen at the sum­mit of Mount Welling­ton in Ho­bart.

Snow was set­tling on the moun­tain, 800 to 900 me­tres above sea level, Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy duty se­nior fore­caster Shane Wells said.

Cra­dle Moun­tain and Mount Read were also likely to have re­ceived a dust­ing, he said.

Mr Wells said it was not the first white Christ­mas for Tas­ma­nia, with snow fall­ing ei­ther side of Christ­mas dur­ing the past cou­ple of years.

‘‘It’s un­usual but not with­out prece­dent — it’s hap­pened a few times,’’ he said.

‘‘This event’s prob­a­bly heav­ier and more sig­nif­i­cant — cer­tainly it’s snowed down to a lower level.

‘‘Of­ten it’s just a very light dust­ing on the top of Mt Welling­ton at a level of 1250 me­tres.’’

Snow also capped Vic­to­ria’s Mt Buller, Lake Moun­tain and pos­si­bly Mt Baw Baw, where the tem­per­a­ture plunged to mi­nus two de­grees yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Bureau spokesman Ward Rooney said snow had or would fall to higher than about 900 me­tres above sea level to­day.

‘‘With th­ese ar­eas where there’s go­ing to be some sort of pre­cip­i­ta­tion and it’s high enough and cold enough, it will fall as snow,’’ he said.

But it was not the first time it had snowed in Vic­to­ria on Christ­mas day.

‘‘It’s not par­tic­u­larly un­usual,’’ he said.

MERRY CHRIST­MAS . . . Mt Buller fire brigade’s Cap­tain Andy Kelly and Carly Reu­davey have a snow­ball

fight as Derek and Derby Chan and Samuel Wong build a mid-sum­mer snow­man (topright) yes­ter­day

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