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Winter chaos at airports and snowfall joy in ski resorts

July 15, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Travellers on Australia’s east coast were bearing the brunt of wild weather at the weekend, with dozens of flights cancelled, passengers milling around for hours at airports, and severe weather warnings in place as dangerous winds and blizzards swept south-east NSW.

Sydney Airport was reduced to one-runway operations on Saturday, causing major delays which then fed through to the rest of the Australian network. Crowds built up at Brisbane Airport as people waited to fly to Sydney. Similar crowds waiting at Sydney Airport were reportedly told by Virgin Australia that cash refunds would not be offered.

Sydney Airport was disrupted by fog on the two previous weekends. This time, the disruptor was gusting winds.

Hundreds were still waiting yesterday in Sydney Airport’s domestic terminal, with some travellers unable to board a flight until today, their travel plans ruined.

Passengers queue at Sydney Airport

ABC News interviewed a family who landed in Sydney from Hong Kong to find their connecting Jetstar flight to the Gold Coast was cancelled and every other flight home was booked out.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recorded gusts of up to 78 km/h at Sydney Airport on Saturday afternoon. It issued a severe weather warning for both NSW and Victoria.

Yesterday (Sunday) BOM issued a second severe weather warning for damaging winds, affecting the NSW Illawarra, Snowy Mountains and parts of Mid North Coast, Hunter, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands and Australian Capital Territory forecast districts.

Cancellations mount

“The next front will move through the southeast later today and early Monday, bringing another bout of vigorous west to southwesterly winds,” BOM said.

“Winds are forecast to ease during Monday morning as the front moves east away from New South Wales. Another front will move through the southeast on Wednesday, but is unlikely to be as strong as those preceding it.”

The cold snowy weather delighted snow resorts. “54cm of snow this week at Hotham,” Hotham Alpine Resort tweeted jubilantly. “More #snowfall today. #Winter 2019 is kicking into gear!”

Thredbo tweeted on Saturday: “😍 Storm total now at 62cm and counting 💪 With all this snow we’re OPENING Antons tomorrow 🙏!”

Sydney Airport said on Saturday 50 domestic flights had been grounded by strong wind.

Jetstar was forced to cancel 28 departures and arrivals and Virgin Australia cancelled 15 flights.

It’s not just Sydney. Last week, travellers at Melbourne Airport were hit with long delays and cancellations as strong winds blew across Victoria. One of the airport’s two runways closed on Wednesday, restricting flights in and out of the airport for all major airlines.


Written by Peter Needham

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