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'Welcome to winter storm #6'

Severe snow storms close schools, businesses, and government offices across northeast US.

PT1M40S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-32ns2 620 349

Victoria has had fires, 40-plus degrees and the rain is beginning to pelt over the state's north-west, but by Thursday next week we could have snow.

No, this is not a misprint.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Scott Williams said Victoria's heatwave had been "flushed away" by a cold front coming from South Australia. And, although we might get another heat spell in March, by Wednesday or Thursday next week there may be "snow flurries" in the alpine areas.

Mr Williams said the meagre high of about 21 degrees in Melbourne on Wednesday and Thursday could even be revised down.

"When the cold air goes over us on Wednesday and Thursday... we might struggle to get to 20," Mr Williams said.

He said rain had begun to fall over the north-west of the state and was heaviest in the far north-west. Ouyen had 18 millimetres over the 24-hour period to Friday 9am.

Mr Williams said the hourly rain figures for Mildura - which had eight days over 40 degrees in the first half of February – were unavailable due to a faulty electrical rain gauge. But the bush telegraph had kicked in, with locals calling the bureau with statistics from their home rain gauges. He said an old-style "eight-inch" gauge would provide a rain measure at 9am and 3pm on Friday. In the 24 hours to 9am Friday, Mildura had 16 millimetres of rain.

On Friday afternoon, heavy rainfall and the cold front are expected to push through the northern Mallee area, bringing 60 millimetres, with isolated totals of 100 millimetres. The southern Mallee is expected to get about half of that rain, with 30 millimetres and isolated totals of 50 millimetres. Not much rain is expected in the Wimmera and to the south.

A low pressure trough is expected to push through to fire-ravaged Kilmore and Gippsland, and to Melbourne, on Saturday, with 5-10 millimetres of rain expected on Saturday night.

Mr Williams said the cooler conditions on Wednesday and Thursday were expected to bring up to 20 millimetres of rain to Kilmore and Gippsland.

"There is not going to be a knock-out blow for the fires but it is going to be death by a thousand cuts with the rain and cooler temperatures," Mr Williams said.

"We won't be in a position that [the fires] will be all put out, but they will be aided," he said.

Mr Williams said the intense Victorian heatwave had lasted two to three weeks, which was longer than usual. He said it was possible there could be a further heatwave in March but there had only ever been eight days over 40 degrees recorded in history.

Weatherzone meteorologist Rob Sharpe said while Mildura normally had five days over 40 degrees and this year had 20, Rutherglen - a town with an average of two days over 40 - has had 15 days over 40 degrees.

Mr Sharpe said there was a chance that the north of the state might get another round of hot weather in the high 30s on February 24 or 25.

According to Mr Williams it is "pretty unlikely" we will have another heatwave of the same intensity as the one we have just had, but he said there could be another warm spell in March.

He said March, the beginning of autumn, saw shorter days and less chance for the sun to push temperatures up. All recorded days over 40 degrees in Melbourne were before March 12.