Forecasters have said the snow across New South Wales and parts of Victoria is a “significant event” not seen for 16 years.
Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Gabrielle Woodhouse told news.com.au that snow had reached to far northern parts of New South Wales while on the ski resorts of Perisher and Thredbo in the far south as much as half a metre of snow had descended in the last 24 hours.
“We don’t often see really widespread snowfall across the New South Wales ranges all the way up to the Queensland border, And likewise, we don’t take falling down to such low levels so it is quite significant,” she said on Thursday afternoon.
Temperatures across the state have plummeted with Sydney still hovering around 9C at what should be the hottest part of the day. If the mercury remains below 11C in the city it will be the coldest day for 25 years.
“Today, it’s going to be significantly cold across the state so temperatures are generally going to be at least 10 degrees below average and quite a few places will approach or exceed the lowest maximums temperature record,” Ms Woodhouse said.
The snow was likely to continue today on higher ground and will replaced by fierce winds on Friday.
Pictures have streamed in from across NSW of the winter wonderland conditions.
The forecast for Armidale includes snow and the snowfalls have already been reported in the Northern Tablelands town of Guyra.
Snow has also been reported in Orange.
Further north in Queensland the apparent temperature dropped to a freezing -5.6C at Wellcamp Airport near Toowoomba.
Oakey, an agricultural centre and home to the Army Aviation Centre, shivered through an apparent temperature of -4.2C.
The bureau says a low pressure system over central New South Wales will enhance the cool to cold westerly flow over southern Queensland today. It is predicting snow or sleet at times about the higher terrain on the Granite Belt.
The cold snap is due to a pool of cold air direct from Antarctica.
The bureau has warned that temperatures could plunge 10 degrees below average over the next day or so.
Up to 20mm of snow could fall over areas that may only get a dusting once every few years.
“This major winter storm will intensify across southeast Australia during Wednesday,” Sky News Weather senior meteorologist Tom Saunders said.
“New South Wales will be the centre of this winter storm in terms of the snowfall over the next couple of days.”
Mr Saunders said today should be the coldest day in decades for central and northern regions.
text by Andrew Backhouse and Benedict Brook, news.com.au