Meteorologists have warned that the imminent double blast of Antarctic air set to cross southern Australia will banish the “last of the warm weather” from many states and set the tone for winter.
Temperatures are set to plunge from tomorrow onwards for Tasmania and Victoria as well as southern areas of South Australia and New South Wales.
Large areas could see temperatures well below freezing with hail likely as well as snow at low levels.
Two cold fronts are sweeping across the south of Australia, one coming through overnight and into Friday and a second on Sunday which will be colder still.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior forecaster Michael Efron said that was the end for the mild conditions.
“This burst of cold air means it’s the last of the warm weather we’ll see across Melbourne.”
Matthew Thomas, also from the Bureau, told the Herald Sun the transition to winter was about to get underway. But there was something unusual about the frosty turn.
“It’s not an unexpected occurrence but we don’t necessarily get these abrupt changes all that often. It’s the abrupt nature of this one that’s most significant.
“It’s going to bring some very, very cold temperatures. We’re likely to see some snow in Alpine areas,” he added.
Alison Osborne, a meteorologist with Sky News Weather, said that the change would be sudden with Melbourne going from a high of 30C to barely half that on Friday.
“These will be some of the coldest temperatures we’ve seen this year,” she said.
“With maximum temperatures in the mid to low teens it will be the coldest weather so far this year.”
Getting colder and colder in southern states
In New South Wales, it will remain warm in Sydney for the next couple of days with a high of 29C on Friday and the odd spell of rain.
But the mercury is set to fall with a maximum of 25C on Saturday and then only just getting into the 20s on Monday with a minimum of a mere 11C.
Canberra will sink to a high of 15C by Sunday. The lows will steadily drop from 11C at dawn on Friday to 5C on Saturday and then -1C on a frosty Monday.
Melbourne’s warm Thursday will be a memory on Friday when 17C will be the max with just 15C on Sunday. Dawn will bottom out at 9C on the weekend. Some showers are likely from Friday until Sunday.
Head inland and those minimums will sink further — a low of just 5C greets Bendigo on Monday morning and just 4C in Wodonga.
The Alps should see snow on the weekend with the mercury hitting -5C.
It will get warmer into the middle of next week but not reach the recent highs we’ve seen.
Across the Bass Strait it gets colder still. Hobart will drift down to just 13C on Sunday. Expect a minimum of 8C on Monday morning. Like Melbourne, showers are likely.
Kunanyi/Mount Wellington, towering over Hobart, could bottom out below zero on Sunday with a dusting of snow over the weekend.
In the Tasmanian Highlands the snow could be far thicker, with 20cm of precipitation possible on Saturday alone at Lake St Clair.
It will be milder in Adelaide but temperatures are still set to fall to 22C on Friday and 19C on Sunday with lows of 12C.
Cyclone concerns in Western Australia
On the other side of the Nullarbor, Perth is more settled in terms of heat, bouncing around 30C until Monday when a high of 24C is expected.
Rain, some heavy, is a possibility for the WA capital on Sunday and Monday.
That’s likely as a result of Tropical Cyclone Seroja, which is building up strength in the Indian Ocean and is expected to turn towards land over the weekend or early next week.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued warnings for “dangerous weather” including gale force winds, heavy rain and dangerous surf for the WA coast from south of Geraldton to north of Exmouth.
Steady highs of 33C are expected in Darwin with lows of 25C and possible showers on Friday and Sunday.
Brisbane will see 29-31C across the weekend and into next week with mostly clear skies.