A deep low pressure system moving towards Macquarie Island was responsible for the bleak conditions in Victoria last weekend.
Maximum temperatures were well below the April norm. Wangaratta, with a maximum of 14.3 on Sunday, recorded its lowest early April max since 2011, and before that in 1995.
Melbourne, with a maximum of 14.8, had its coldest day for early April since 13.3 was recorded in 1995.
Not much rain fell in north-east Victoria, but the strong south-westerly winds made conditions most unpleasant. Widespread frosts then occurred on both Monday and Tuesday mornings - much earlier than is usual. Canberra recorded minus 2.6 - the coldest on record for so early in April. Similar low temperatures for April were recorded a few days later in both 2001 and 1963 in Canberra. The rest of 1963 was notably wet from mid May to October, but the April 2001 event in Canberra followed a very hot summer in north-east Victoria, which certainly did not happen this year.
The very cold outbreak swept quickly northwards and penetrated as far north as Roma in outback Queensland. Roma had a record early frost when the temperature fell to just 0.9 on the Tuesday morning of April 13. This was the lowest temperature on record for the first half of April at Roma in 83 years of records. Other very low April minimums at Roma during the latter half of April were recorded in 1941, 1978, 1996, 1999 and 2008.
Hobart had its coldest day for early April since 2006 with a maximum of 11.9. Before that, it was in 1963. In addition, the highest temperature this month of 32.3 in Hobart will now certainly be higher than the highest temperature recorded in Melbourne this month. Only one other time in the last 140 years this has happened between the two capital cities. This was in 1973, which was very wet from late April onwards in Victoria and NSW.
Tropical cyclone Serojie, with central pressure of 971 mbs, brought destruction to towns between Carnarvon and Geraldton. On April 6, 1995 tropical cyclone Chloe took a similar path along the west coast of Western Australia. It was at this time in April 1995 that our region had a cold blast from Antarctica.
Needless to say, we are in for a very wet, cold May to July period, with more of the same during the spring break in August, with maximum temperatures near 25 degrees during the fourth week.