Once in a century weather

Just two weeks before the start of summer, Sydney is experiencing its coldest November day in more than a century with a maximum temperature of just 15 degrees.

In the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney, snowfalls are expected above 1100 metres, following falls further south in Victoria and Tasmania.

However the conditions are unlikely to help firefighters battling two major blazes in the area, with the cold front whipping up strong wind gusts of up to 50km/h.

More than 150 firefighters worked through the night to contain one of the fires, about two kilometres north of Mount Victoria, which has burnt out more than 700 hectares of bushland.

The second fire is burning about five kilometres north of Blackheath and has burnt out 100 hectares of parkland in inaccessible terrain.

Victoria shivers

The cold snap is continuing across Victoria, with temperatures in the alpine regions expected to hover around freezing all day.

Melbourne is also shivering through a cold day, expecting a maximum of just nine degrees, with early rain and hailstorms.

Queensland blasted

Residents in south-east Queensland are also counting the cost of the unseasonable weather

Ferocious storms carrying hail the size of cricket balls tore off roofs, smashed cars and brought down trees and powerlines, plunging more than 30,000 homes into darkness.

The State Emergency Service is expecting a busy day cleaning up the damage from the storm cell that moved through the region.

In Brisbane major train services also ground to a halt at the height of the storm.

Weekend relief

Forecasters say that the weather should begin getting back to normal on Friday.

“After a frosty start it should back away to a more typical summer pattern with temperatures to average or even above average across New South Wales,” said Bureau of Meteorology weatherman Rob Webb.

“It will be a pretty pleasant weekend in Sydney, that’s for sure.”