As destructive winds and snow continue to batter Australia’s southeast, the north braces for the looming threat of a tropical cyclone.
Thousands of residents in NSW, Victoria and South Australia were left without power as severe wind gusts of up to 130km/h tore through power lines and destroyed homes.
The state emergency service has responded to thousands of calls for help overnight as people battle winds, floods, snow and even a heatwave.
Sky News weather forecaster Rob Sharpe said the chaotic weather could be attributed to a strong polar vortex that would continue to sweep the country on Tuesday.
Temperatures were three to five degrees cooler this month thanks to the cold front caused by the Tonga volcanic eruption earlier this year.
Temperatures are expected to rise later in the week as a brewing weather system is forecast to bring severe thunderstorms ahead of a possible tropical cyclone next week.
The NSW SES has responded to more than 900 requests for help in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning, most of which were related to storm damage.
The combination of high winds and saturated soil toppled hundreds of trees on roads, power lines and homes overnight. Hundreds of households are still without power on Tuesday morning after the storm.
In Sydney alone, 420 SES requests for help were made as wind gusts of up to 85 km/h battered the city. A severe weather warning remains in place on Tuesday, although the problem area has narrowed to the Alpine area of NSW, where more snowfall is forecast.
The SES has received three requests for flood rescues overnight as Central West NSW continues to struggle with rising water levels.
“We’re still seeing some major flooding out west. It is still of great importance,” said a spokesman.
Flooding in western NSW could continue for months, the SES spokesman warned.
Western NSW communities like Walgett and Lightning Ridge are still cut off from the rest of the state by flooding.
The SES continues to charter flights to deliver food and medical supplies to communities as cities wait for water levels to drop.
“(There are) quite significant events happening across NSW at the moment,” the SES spokesman acknowledged.
There are 100 alerts from emergency services across NSW and 16 from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Despite the wild weather, Sydney is expected to hit a sunny 24C on Tuesday.
Mr Sharpe said Victoria shivered through three episodes of “extraordinary cold” in November, an “extreme” weather event not seen in more than 57 years.
The “remarkable” and unusual for the time of year cold snap caused temperatures to drop to 13C on Monday, 8C below average.
More than 2,400 homes were still without power Tuesday morning after strong winds damaged power lines and homes across the state.
The SES responded to more than 954 requests for help overnight, and more than 810 of those were due to trees downed by the destructive gusts. The emergency services reported that 48 buildings were damaged by the winds.
Fortunately for Victorians, the severe weather warning for the state was lifted Tuesday morning. However, Mr Sharpe said parts of Gippsland should remain on high alert as strong winds are not expected to ease before Tuesday night.
Snow is expected to fall in the state’s alpine areas Tuesday as cool conditions continue.
The Weather Bureau has issued 22 warnings for Victoria related to ongoing flood risks. Melbourne is expected to remain cool with a high of 17C.
As the wild weather eases across much of the country, the Sky News weather forecaster warned that wind and rain would move into Tasmania from the mainland on Tuesday.
Harmful winds are expected in the middle of the state, blowing west and south of Hobart.
Soaking is also forecast for Tasmania, which will add further rainfall to the already soaked soil. There are nine flood and severe weather warnings nationwide.
Temperatures are set to drop to a maximum of 16C in Hobart on Tuesday, although they are expected to rise as the week progresses.
Residents have had some respite from the wild weather after a chaotic weekend resulted in 13,000 homes losing power.
As of Tuesday, nearly 400 homes across the state were still without power.
The SA SES reported only three requests for assistance overnight and the state received only one alert from the bureau.
The weather is expected to warm up throughout the week but the temperature in Adelaide will not hit the high of 18C until Tuesday.
Queensland and the Northern Territory
While the southern states are struggling with flooding and freezing temperatures, the Queenslanders are suffering from a heat wave.
The northern areas of the state are expected to suffer from temperatures in the mid-30s to early 40s for most of the week.
The warning extends from the Peninsula, North Tropical Coast and Tablelands and Central Coast to the districts of the Whitsundays. Areas near Darwin in the Northern Territory are also likely to be affected.
Severe thunderstorms are expected to drench Queensland and the NT and continue into next week while another system brews over the north.
“Next week could be a big one for Queensland and the top end of NT,” said Mr Sharpe.
“There is a risk of a tropical cyclone. Even if there is no tropical cyclone, we expect a lot of rain.”
The meteorologist is forecasting up to 100mm of rain across much of northern Australia and stretching into northern areas of western Australia.
There are already five emergency warnings across Queensland, four of which relate to flooding. Townsville will hit a maximum of 35C on Tuesday, while Brisbane will see a maximum of 29C.
No warnings are in place in the NT, where the temperature is expected to reach a warm 34C on Tuesday.
As the east continues to be battered by rain, the west braces for extreme fire danger.
The Inland Central West, Midwest Coast and Mortlock areas are all being urged to prepare for hot and dry conditions perfect for fire hazards.
The bureau predicts strong winds will sweep across the areas and increase the risk of bushfires. Scattered thunderstorm activity is forecast across the state through Tuesday afternoon.
Two bureau warnings are current in WA, where warm conditions are expected to continue.
Perth is expected to hit a high of 34C on Tuesday while Broome remains slightly cooler at 31C.
Originally posted as a tropical cyclone threat as Australia battles ferocious weather