White Christmas brings relief to southern firefronts
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