Torrential. That's the only word for it. After near record snowfalls last week, It is absolutely pouring with **** in Australia's ski resorts this Friday.
What's ****, you ask?
It's rain, but snow lovers never mention that word in the context of the Australian skifields because it's the rudest word you can mention. Rain washes away snow. And that's very bad.
Rain storms are not unheard of in the Australian skifields in midwinter. You always get a few each season -- usually from a surge of warm northwesterly air ahead of a cold southwesterly outbreak bringing more snow.
And that's what's going to happen this week. Up to a metre of snow is forecast between late Friday night (when temperatures will start to plummet) and next Wednesday. Season 2016 started really well and is about to be fantastic again.
But right now, there's just that nasty ****. And bucketloads of of it. Swimming pool loads.
This is an unusual rain event by any standards. It's currently raining at the rate of about 15 mm per hour at most of the Australian ski resorts.
At Perisher in NSW, a river has sprung out above the snow at the base of Mt Perisher where usually there's just a tiny creek buried well beneath the snowpack. That's what the image at the top of this story shows. The image above is of the Perisher Centre. This creek is normally only a metre or two wide, and also buried by snow in a good season.
To make things a whole lot less pleasant, gale force winds are expected on Friday night in the snowfields and most of Victoria and southern New South Wales.
There are reports that the Burning Log restaurant at Guthega, which is part of Perisher resort, has lost its roof. Gusts of up to 170 km/h have been recorded at Perisher. There are also reports of damage to a chairlift at Perisher, and flooding at ski lodges in the small NSW ski resort of Charlotte Pass.
The flooding is now also affecting roads in the NSW Snowy Mountains.
Meanwhile Sydney was on the verge of having its hottest July day ever as the same warm air bringing rain to the Australian Alps brought windy warm conditions to the east coast.
Sydney's hottest ever July day was 25.9 degrees. It was 25.7 as we wrote this and that appears to have been the maximum. Melbourne is heading for 18 degrees -- well above the average July maximum of 13.5 -- before the cold change passed through in the late afternoon.
The rain is expected to turn to snow around 5 pm Friday night in the ski resorts.