Australia's major cold snap breaks decades-long records

Brace yourselves, Australia, as winter is well and truly here.

The winter solstice is bringing with it some unseasonably cold days and nights as we’re undoubtedly finally hit by the chilly season.

Parts of the country chilled below zero overnight on Friday, including -8.9C at Glen Innes Airport in the New England area of NSW.

Elsewhere in the state it dipped to just -4.6 at Narrabri and Dubbo, according the Bureau of Meteorology.

South Australia's Coonawarra Wine region dipped to -3.8C Friday night, which was a freezing 37-year low. Source: coonawarra_wine / Instagram

The cold snap will continue to grip the nation, with day and night temperatures looking to be colder than any time in the past several years, according to Weatherzone.

Winds are set to lash the country, with some parts chilling through their lowest temperatures in decades.

SA, NT, QLD, NSW a bit nippy for early winter

Parts of Australia's south, centre and east are enduring a run of unseasonably cold days and nights – and we haven't even reached the coldest part of winter.

Frost has already become widespread and temperatures have been dropping 7 to 11 degrees below average, Weatherzone reported.

Coldest day on record

At a freezing -3.8C, South Australia’s grape-growing region of Coonawarra on Saturday observed its coldest day in 37 years.

The town is expected to extend its chilly run of mornings dipping below -2C to at least -5C, a feat which has not been experienced in the area in 47 years.

And winter has only just begun.

It’s the coldest in 12 years at nearby Mt Gambier, which was a chilling -2.2C on Saturday.

Record 12-year lows were also observed on Saturday in Queensland, with Birdsville and St George freezing down to 0.5C and -2.9C respectively.

It was an eight-year-record in Moree, NSW, at -3.8C; while it was an 0.8C in SA's Coober Pedy, and -3.8C at Naracoorte.

”The chill is not over, expected to continue through to at least Monday due to the very slow-moving nature of a stubborn high pressure system,” Weatherzone forecasters said.

Severe weather to hit WA

A severe weather warning has been issued for Western Australia's southwest, with damaging winds and heavy rain forecast to hit the region.

The Bureau of Meteorology says a strong cold front will move across the area on Saturday, bringing wind gusts of up to 100km/h along with heavy rain, thunderstorms and possible flash flooding.

Areas to be affected include Albany, Bunbury, Busselton, Katanning, Mandurah, Manjimup, Margaret River, Merredin, Moora, Mount Barker, Narrogin, Northam and Perth.

"The potential for damaging winds commences from around 3pm Saturday in coastal parts between Jurien Bay and the South West Capes, including the Perth Metropolitan area," Emergency WA said.

"This area will extend eastwards to include Narrogin, Katanning and Albany by 8pm and to Hyden and Hopetoun by around midnight Saturday.

"Heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding is possible over the warning area."

With AAP

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