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 for Friday for all states and territories, except for the Northern Territory and Queensland.
This is as a result of a strong wintry polar blast and a cold southerly air stream.
“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 on Friday 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 Friday.
While most of them were calls about minor damages, high winds and poor visibility hampered some relief work, they said.
In Victoria and its capital Melbourne, ferocious winds reaching 120 kilometres per hour 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 they 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 120 kilometres per hour.
The region saw a major dump of snow overnight, which will continue, the weather bureau said, warning of increased avalanche risks.
Gale warnings have also been issued for parts of Tasmania and Western Australia.