Tasmania’s wintry blast continued overnight, leaving many residents without power and others stranded in small towns due to road closures.
- Heavy snow continued to fall overnight, with Launceston waking to a rare snow day
- Thousands of homes are still without power after outages on Tuesday night
- The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of more severe winds, heavy rain and possibly flooding.
And the weather bureau says it is not over yet.
Heavy snow fell in Launceston and surrounds overnight, to the delight of several sporting teams brave enough to train in the conditions.
Many residents have woken to a blanket of white.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Luke Johnston said snow in Launceston was a rare event.
“Something that I found particularly interesting last night was looking at the webcam at Launceston Airport, where snow blanketed all the grassed areas for much of the night,” he said.
Rescues and strandings
The wild weather led to several rescues.
Police launched a search for a 55-year-old man about 9:00pm on Tuesday after his boat struck rocks and sank near Southport in the state’s far south.
The man was found at Cockle Creek cold and wet but uninjured.
Dozens of people had to be rescued from their cars as heavy snow clogged some of the state’s major highways late on Tuesday.
About 40 cars were abandoned at Spring Hill on the Midland Highway and police used road graders to free them.
Another 10 cars got stuck at Bust Me Gall Hill on the Tasman Highway
The cars are expected to be retrieved today.
Stranded travellers filled accommodation in small towns dotted along the closed roads.
Allan Burden runs accommodation and a restaurant at Orford on the east coast.
He told ABC Radio Hobart he was inundated with requests for rooms when the Tasman Highway was closed and had to turn people away.
“I can tell you it was snowing and it was snowing heavy,” he said.
“Then it came down and blocked the road at Black Charlies [Opening] and no-one could get anywhere, even on the backroads.”
The Imbibers wine bar in Oatlands is not usually open on a Tuesday but owner Brad Williams said he opened so stranded motorists had somewhere warm to go.
“It’s actually been lovely, a lot of really nice people,” Mr Williams said.
“Barriers between tables have broken down, people have made new friends and exchanged phone numbers.”
He said some of the stranded people had been offered couches and spare rooms in the homes of locals.
Homes still without power
About 14,000 homes lost electricity when lightning struck a power pole in Hobart and early this morning, 6,000 households were still without power.
Wild weather is expected to continue today, with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a severe weather warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall for several districts.
Flash flooding may also be possible in the Midlands forecast district, with 50 millimetres of rain falling at Tunnack and Ross in the early hours.
Several schools are closed and the Education Department is urging people to check its website for updates.