Canberra weather: East coast freeze brings snow and hail

About 35 centimetres fell across the four resorts areas of Perisher on Friday. Photo: Perisher Perisher recorded a massive dump of snow on Thursday night. Photo: Perisher

The snowfall has been the largest of the season so far. Photo: Perisher

Louise Debenhan and her children Jessica and Oliver play in the snow at Thredbo. Photo: Aedan O’Donnell

Over 40cms of fresh snow has fallen up top of Shannon Reynolds, Maddie Day and Tully examine the snow at Thredbo Photo: Aedan O’Donnell

Over 40cms of fresh snow has fallen up top of Thredbo Resort in the last 24 hours. Photo: Aedan O’Donnell

Up to 40 centimetres of snow has fallen at the mountain snowfields south of Canberra as a cold front bites across south-eastern NSW and the ACT.

It dropped to -2 degrees at 7.30am on Saturday and had reached only 6 degrees by 10am, while heading for an expected top of 10 degrees, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. That comes after the daytime temperature peaked at just 8.1 degrees on Friday.

Sunday is not expected to be any warmer. The minimum is tipped to drop to -3 degrees, with another forecast maximum of 10 degrees. It is unlikely to rain on either day of the weekend. Snow on the mountains surrounding Canberra. pic.twitter杭州龙凤419m/z1voR082VC— Henry Belot (@Henry_Belot) June 24, 2016

While Canberrans were bracing for possible hail on Friday, ski bunnies to the south were lacing up their snow boots ready to hit the slopes at the Thredbo and Perisher resorts, which were blanketed with the first big snowfall of the season on Thursday night through to Friday morning.

Perisher recorded 35 centimetres of snow, while Thredbo received 40 centimetres up the top and up to 10 centimetres in the village.

Standing in Thredbo village, snow forecaster Reggae Ellis said: “At the moment I’m seeing big snowflakes falling out of the sky. It’s been snowing hard for the past hour and it’s looking pretty nice down here.

“We had a couple of smaller snowfalls about a month ago, 10, 20 centimetres but this one started the other day and it’s just improved. The forecast has been right on track and at the moment it looks amazing out here, it’s a full on, beautiful, big dumping snow storm. It’s a bit unreal.”

But while Canberra itself won’t see any of the white, fluffy stuff, there is a chance of a massive frost on Saturday and Sunday, Jordan Notara of the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“The expectation is around three to six millimetres of showers over the Canberra city itself, to the ranges to the west we are expecting some potential snow to be falling in the late evening. It wouldn’t be very high totals, maybe around a maximum of five centimetres in that area,” Mr Notara said.

“Canberra itself really shouldn’t be expecting any snow itself, but Saturday morning will be a very cold, frosty morning with good widespread areas of frost. Minus 2 is the minimum temperature expectation and the frost should form quite early so road conditions may get quite slippery as well if we have water freezing quite quickly on those roads.”

If you are headed down to the snowfields this weekend, Reggae Ellis at Thredbo warned the roads are expected to be pretty icy.

“It’s going to be pretty slick on the roads, they’re going to clear it today but there are snow showers continuing off and on through to Monday apparently and then maybe more snow around June 30 and 31,” he said.

More than 100 snow guns fired up at Thredbo overnight, with the Cruiser Area and High Noon expected to make their seasonal debut on Saturday.

“The mountain departments are going to be working pretty hard to get more lifts open, Perisher is talking about opening Blue Cow on Saturday but with this snowfall, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more lifts open. The Cruiser chair in Thredbo is opening up on Saturday, Charlotte’s open, Selwyn’s got snow so all of the resorts will be having lifts open so it’s going to be pretty good,” Mr Ellis said.