Snow in Ballarat: first snowfall of 2013

IT'S snowing! 

The white fluffy stuff might have surprised people in the Ballarat region at the weekend, but were the local animals any better prepared? 

Geese will migrate hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres to avoid the cold and snakes always know when it’s time to go to sleep for the winter.

Wild animals were even observed fleeing coastal areas in South East Asia before the Boxing Day tsunami struck in 2004.

So if animals do have some form of weather sense, you have to wonder what the sheep photographed at Eganstown must have been thinking on Saturday morning.

Two little lambs huddled close to their mum with a layer of snow on her back.

The tight-knit family might have been wondering the same as most humans in the Ballarat region: just what is going on with our weather?

After all, it was a balmy 17 degrees at 11am the day before.

See our photographer gallery of snow photos

If you told those same freezing sheep that last Monday’s overnight temperature was the warmest Ballarat has ever had, they would have thought you were pulling the wool over their eyes.

So what exactly is going on? Thankfully the experts have the answers.

Weatherzone meteorologist Ben McBurney said it was not unusual for the region to receive snowfall once or twice per year.

“It is the first snowfall the region has received this year and we are seeing a few centimetres coat the area,” Mr McBurney said.

“Mid-July to early August we do get events of this calibre most frequently happen.”

Mr McBurney said Ballarat itself, which sits just over 400 metres above sea level, was too low to receive a dumping but the cold front did produce a dusting down to 650 metres.

“A complex system has initiated the snowfall,” he said.

“There was a strong cold front moving through Friday evening, then a low pressure system coming from the south.”

Snowfalls were experienced through Eganstown, Kingston, Clarkes Hill and isolated falls were also reported in Mt Helen, Newlyn, Daylesford, near Beaufort and in between.

Dozens of motorists along the Midland Highway near Eganstown pulled over to photograph the region’s white blanket.

Several Hepburn Football Club players even pulled over outside of Eganstown for a pre-game snowball fight.

Yesterday wasn’t much warmer, with Ballarat temperatures ranging between two and four degrees for much of the day.

Today is expected to warm to a sultry 10 degrees before dropping again to an overnight minimum of 1 degree.

jordan.oliver@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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