Following an unseasonably warm winter, a major winter storm is heading towards southeast Australia, bringing with it freezing polar air, weather forecasters warn.
The eastern and southern states are expected to shiver through the biggest cold snap of the year later this week, as the polar front approaches.
Forecast models suggest a pulse of cold Antarctic-borne air could sweep across southeastern Australia from Thursday or Friday, according to Weatherzone.
“Some computer models predict that the impending air mass will be one of the coldest so far this season,” forecasters predicted.
Cold front is good news for snow fans
A mix of rain, thunderstorms, hail, low-level snow and damaging winds is possible for the country’s southeast, towards the end of next week.
The impending cold air is likely to blanket Victoria and NSW’s alpine ranges with heavy snow over a number of days, to create the best natural snow-depth so far this season.
Rain to bucket down on southeastern states
A “good week of rain” is expected to hit the southeast of the country, said Sky News weather forecaster Andrew Edwards.
“This will all kick off on Tuesday with a front moving through Tasmania, some light falls for South Australia and Victoria,” he said.
“We will then see a solid band of rain developing on Wednesday across southeast Australia ahead of a stronger cold front. That front as it rolls through will spread that rain all the way to the central ranges of NSW.”
The front will come through later in the week, maintaining widespread showers across southeast Australia by Saturday.
The freezing conditions are expected to follow a strong force of a cold air mass seeping from Antarctica across the Southern Ocean.
“Because of cold polar air there is also the risk of hail and thunder for many parts fo the Southeast through this week,” Mr Edwards said.
Over 25mm of rain is likely for coastal districts of South Australia including the ranges, as well as southern and mountain Victoria - excluding far east Gippsland. This is expected to move up towards the central NSW ranges, and northern and western parts of Tasmania where up to 50mm of rain is expected to fall.
Damaging wind warnings expected late in the week
Gale force winds are expected to develop by Thursday in the central and southern parts of the South Australia, which will likely come with damaging wind warnings.
The strongest winds are expected to shift east on Friday through to the weekend and likely to affect Tasmania, Bass Straight and southern Victoria, and the NSW Ranges.
People in those areas are warned to expect damaging winds which could bring down tree branches that may lead to power outages.
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