GIPPSLAND will begin its forecasted warmer than average winter with an Antarctic blast this week, which brings the potential for flooding locally.
A strong cold front has already begun its journey across south eastern Australia today, with only one or two millimetres of rainfall expected to fall locally on Tuesday.
However, a two-day downpour is expected to follow, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting 20 to 30mm to fall in Sale on Wednesday, and 30 to 50mm on Thursday.
Bureau meteorologist Sarah Scully forecast strong and gusty north westerly winds (possibly severe, which may whip up some dust over drier areas), widespread showers, small hail and isolated thunderstorms as the front moves eastwards through Victoria and New South Wales today.
“Snow is expected to drop to low levels through parts of Tasmania, Victoria and alpine areas of New South Wales,” she said.
“And then later on Tuesday evening, we’re forecasting a complex low pressure area to start to develop over southern New South Wales.
“That complex area of low pressure area is then expected to move off the east coast of New South Wales, where it’s forecast to intensify during Wednesday into Thursday.
“We’re forecasting a band of rain to develop right over that eastern seaboard, really stretching right from Tasmania all the way up to south eastern Queensland throughout the week.
“It’s a very cold pool of area, so there’s the potential for small hail, thunderstorms as well, showers and also snow down to low levels.”
The low pressure area is also likely to be accompanied by damaging wind gusts.
Ms Scully said it looked like the heaviest rainfall would be in Gippsland and the south-eastern corner of New South Wales, with the potential for flooding.
“What’s important is the soils are near-saturated, so any heavy rainfall that does occur that does occur over eastern Victoria or eastern New South Wales is likely to have increased surface run off, and leaves them slightly more prone to flooding,” she said.
Ms Scully said this week’s weather was much better news for ski resorts.
“It’s a combination of near or sub zero temperatures forecast between Wednesday to Friday and high precipitation, which means by the end of the week we’re looking at snow dumps of up to 70cm of snow — just in time for the opening of the snow season.”
Ms Scully said with the potential for severe weather, people should stay across what’s happening in their local area.
“It is an evolving weather situation, and we are monitoring it very closely, so it’s important for people to stay up to date with the latest forecasts,” she said.
At the time the Gippsland Times went to print on Monday morning, there was a severe weather warning in place for damaging winds across Gippsland, which were forecast to ease later on Tuesday.
The State Emergency Service advises people should avoid travel if possible if driving conditions are dangerous.
If not possible, safely pull over away from trees, drains, low-lying areas and floodwater.
It also advises staying safe by avoiding dangerous hazards, such as floodwater, mud, debris, damaged roads and fallen trees, and being aware that storms may make trees unstable and more likely to fall when it’s windy or wet.
People should check loose items, such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines are safely secured, and move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
People can monitor weather warnings, forecasts and river levels on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website.
The VicEmergency app also provides Victorians with access to warnings and incidents for fires, floods, storms, earthquake, tsunamis, landslides, water safety and more, and is available to download from the App Store or Google Play.
Alternatively, people can visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au or phone the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226 at any time of the day or night to access emergency information during and after major incidents in Victoria.