Queenslanders and Sydneysiders woke to a big shock on Monday as snow fell in parts of the usually sub-tropical states.
It may be the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but Queensland in June usually basks in a balmy 20°C (68°F) while in New South Wales, Sydney's average daytime temperature for this time of year is a distinctly non-freezing 17°C (63°F). June also marks the start of the dry season.
Despite severe weather warnings for heavy rain and gale-force winds issued in Sydney, and people being urged to stay inside, many have been sharing their snaps of the snow on social media.
Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Sydney and 1,065 meters (3,500 feet) above sea level, experienced around 5 centimeters (2 inches) of snow on Monday, June 3. While snow up in the mountains is not that unusual, it doesn't usually cause the commuter chaos and traffic warnings issued by NSW Police.
"Staying safe while driving, riding or walking in the unpredictable weather forecast for NSW in the coming days can be as simple as making good choices such as being able to be seen by other road users," they said in a statement posted to Facebook. “It’s not just your life at risk – it’s the lives of the emergency service workers some of whom are volunteers.“
The unusual weather has resulted in some traffic chaos, causing trains and ferries to be canceled, but it also meant a "snow day" as some schools closed and people made the most of the weather to take in some tobogganing and build snowmen – not something you see every day in Sydney.
The New England Camel Co, based in Dumaresq, NSW, has been entertaining people with pics of their rescue animals looking slightly bemused by the white stuff.
According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the cold front has come up from Victoria, through New South Wales and reached as far north as Queensland, resulting in the first snow in the Sunshine State since 2015, and only the second time since 1984.
As fun as it may look, Australia, particularly Queensland, has already suffered at the hands of extreme weather events this year. The 2018-2019 summer season broke records for hottest summer and hottest January in Australia ever recorded, with days nearing 50°C (122°F) and a severe lack of rainfall causing both people and wildlife to suffer. It was then followed up by rainstorms in Queensland that caused a floodwater emergency crisis costing millions of dollars, with runoff clouding the water of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It could do with a bit of a break.