Australian floods turn fatal as Sydney shivers through cold snap

People observe the flood water in Traralgon, Australia, on June 10, 2021.
People observe the flood water in Traralgon, Australia, on June 10, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SYDNEY (REUTERS, AFP) - Australians across the east of the country awoke to wild and frosty winter conditions on Thursday (June 10), with flash flooding causing at least one fatality while large snow dumps fell across neighbouring New South Wales.

Cold air from the Antarctic dropped temperatures in Sydney - the country's most populous city - to just 10 deg C, a 37-year record.

"I'm quite sure all of us want to get out and build a snowman," Mr Kevin Beatty, the mayor of Cabonne Shire, one of the inland towns to receive a snow dump, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Parts of Australia have been experiencing strong winds, snow and rainfall, with downpours in the Gippsland region causing fast-rising floodwaters.

A subsequent low pressure weather system brought flooding in some areas, leading to at least one fatality in Victoria state.

The authorities urged 26,000 residents in the town of Traralgon, some 161.9km west of Melbourne, to evacuate.

Victoria state police said a man believed to be in his 60s was found dead in a partially submerged car in the village of Woodside, about two hours' drive from Melbourne.

Police said the circumstances surrounding his death are being investigated.

People in nearby low-lying areas had been ordered to evacuate their homes earlier on Thursday morning.

In March, torrential downpours caused vast flooding across eastern Australia, damaging thousands of homes and leaving two people dead.

Scientists have warned that Australia, which suffered devastating bush fires from 2019 to 2020, can expect more frequent and extreme weather events as a result of climate change.