A rare snow is falling in areas of Australia that aren’t exactly used to it. The snow, coming to areas as far north as subtropical Queensland, has been described by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology as a “rare” sight. Indeed, the state has not seen significant snowfall since 2015, and people are being encouraged to stay indoors amid heavy rain and strong winds.
Queensland is typically referred to as Australia’s “Sunshine State,” with meteorologist Lachlan Stone saying that the region’s snow is being produced by a rare cold air from the south. Snow had also fallen around the town of Stanthorpe, southwest of Brisbane, which recorded near-freezing temperatures this week. The Blue Mountains region west of Sydney recorded about two inches of snow, and even road closures and travel warnings.
According to the country’s weather bureau, 55 mph winds “will whip up heavy surf conditions, making coastal activities dangerous.” The conditions are so severe that ferry services in Sydney Harbor have been suspended, though surfers are still likely paddling into the storms trying to catch the perfect wave.
The low temperatures and unusual snowfall come on the heels of Australia’s hottest summer on record, stoking concerns about climate change and leaving many Australians apprehensive about the coming winter.