Winter blast hits Sydney as temperatures plummet and snow falls on alps

Sydneysiders will shiver through some cold nights in the next week as clear conditions bring sunny days but chilly nights.

Icy westerly winds blasted across Sydney on Monday, with gusts of 113km/h recorded at Bellambi and 95km/h at Fort Denison.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for damaging gales for alpine areas, but downgraded wind gusts from 130km/h to 90km/h and excluded metropolitan Sydney and other areas from the warning. A severe thunderstorm warning was also cancelled.

The cold winds are predicted to cause temperatures in the city to plummet to 6 degrees on Wednesday night, and daily maximums are not forecast to exceed 17 degrees all week.

The overnight minimum temperatures in Parramatta and Penrith is forecast to fall to 3 degrees, but the daily maximums are forecast to be similar.

The cold front is bringing heavy snowfalls to the NSW Alps, with a potential dusting for other parts of the state as temperatures drop.

Perisher recorded 30 centimetres of snow on Sunday night, with another 30 centimetres expected on Monday night. Four ski lifts were open on Sunday as the snow season kicked off early.

In Sydney on Monday morning, trains were halted on the South Coast Line between Kiama and Albion Park because a fallen tree blocked the track at Shellharbour Junction. Normal services resumed about 1pm.

Trains were also briefly disrupted on the T1 North Shore Line between North Sydney and Gordon due to an unrelated power supply issue at Chatswood.

Transport NSW advised all users to allow extra travel time, listen to announcements and check information displays for service updates during the bout of wild weather.

Blizzard conditions are also forecast for parts of the Snowy Mountains district above 1400 metres leading the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to recommend back-country travel be postponed until conditions improve.

The State Emergency Service overnight received 150 calls for assistance most of which were storm-related. It cautioned residents to be wary of tree debris and branches that may fall at any time during strong wind gusts.

Despite most of eastern Australia experiencing an unusually cold start to winter, the country registered its third-warmest autumn on record, Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino said.

Australia’s average mean temperature between March and May was 23. 44 degrees, which is 1. 44 degrees above the 1961 to 1990 average. It was also the country’s wettest autumn in a decade, as Sydney registered its wettest January-May period on record.

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