CANBERRA • Severe weather conditions, including damaging winds, blizzard conditions and heavy rain, lashed most of south-eastern Australia, leaving thousands of properties without power and disrupting flights.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology issued severe weather warnings yesterday for all states and territories, except for the Northern Territory and Queensland, as a result of a strong wintry polar blast and a cold southerly airstream.
"This is the coldest outbreak the south-east has seen this year," the bureau's forecaster Rohan Smyth told Australian broadcaster ABC.
Several domestic and international flights at Sydney Airport were disrupted, with multiple cancellations and delays yesterday morning. Domestic flights in Melbourne were also affected.
South Australia Power Networks said 6,000 properties were without power, mostly in the state's south-east.
The State Emergency Service responded to more than 340 calls on Thursday and yesterday. While most of them were calls about minor damage, high winds and poor visibility hampered some relief work, it said.
In Victoria state and Melbourne, winds reaching 120kmh brought down trees and damaged properties, with high tides at sea snapping off a pier.
More than 1,500 properties were without power across Victoria, and the State Emergency Service said it received more than 400 calls.
Blizzard conditions were expected across the alpine region in New South Wales and Victoria, with wind gusts reaching more than 120kmh.
Heavy snowfalls have blanketed the alpine region and are set to continue, according to the weather bureau, which warned of increased avalanche risks.
Gale warnings have also been issued for parts of Tasmania and Western Australia.