Just how far did the temperature drop in Canberra this morning?

Scott Morris, Sun 16 May 2021

If you woke up this morning with frost forming on your face or your fingers and toes numb from the cold, you probably woke up in Canberra. You may have heard about the freezing temperatures that were supposed to happen in southeast Australia this weekend, but it is a whole other thing to experience it like Canberrans did on Sunday morning.

Two cold fronts, one which has already crossed the southeast and another on the verge, are the culprits, blanketing the southeast with cold air. It was only a matter of time before the skies cleared over Canberra allowing the heat to escape into the atmosphere. The relatively light winds, below 10 km/h, didn’t help, which left behind a chill in the air on Sunday morning.

Early risers would have woken up at 6am in Canberra and felt the full effects of the –5.4 degree minimum temperature. As the sun started to rise after 7am, the morning begun to warm up. If your Sunday morning was a little lazy and you woke up past 10am, you might have been forgiven for thinking that it was just your normal cold morning in Canberra as the temperature had risen above 4 degrees already. 

Image: Satellite (Himawari-8) imagery showing observed temperatures around Australia's capital at 6:30am EST

The last time the mercury dipped this low in Canberra was way back in August of 2018 when Canberra Airport recorded –6.4 degrees. Be prepared to wind your clocks even further back because it was the coldest May morning in Canberra since 2015, a full 6 years.

Do not put away those slippers or extra blankets, because after another cold front passes over Canberra on Monday, the clearing skies will bring about another spell of cold nights and mornings, but likely not as cold as this one. Thankfully, during the day temperatures won't be as cold, but the winds should be strong so keep your warm clothes handy.


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