Melbourne, Sydney forecast: Wild weather warning as polar mass blasts south and east

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Residents in Australia’s south and east have been told to rug up with damaging winds and a strong cold front on the way.

Residents across Australia’s southeast have been told to rug up over the next 24 hours, as a polar air mass makes its way north and brings with it a (temporary) “return to winter”.

Bringing with it warnings for damaging winds and a strong cold front, “the whole of southeast Australia will be impacted by the cold outbreak”, Sky News Weather chief meteorologist Tom Saunders told news.com.au.

“Polar air from Antarctica is currently sweeping over South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria and will spread through New South Wales overnight, and finally reach southern Queensland tomorrow morning.”

As a result of the weather, over the next day impacted states could see showers, hail and thunder, although northern NSW and Queensland likely won’t see much precipitation, and temperatures in some places will drop by as much as 10C.

“Snow will fall to low levels overnight, down to 500 metres in Tasmania and Victoria and also spread up the NSW ranges. Dozens of towns and cities along the Great Dividing Range will see snow, but away from the Alps, most areas will only have light falls,” he added.

Snow is likely to fall along the ranges through to the Queensland border, with snowfall on the southern ranges above 900 metres by tonight, and above 600 metres by tomorrow morning.

Snow is likely on the Central Tablelands above 1000 metres tonight, above 700 metres tomorrow, and may also reach the Northern Tablelands and higher parts of the Northwest Slopes and Plains above 1000 metres tomorrow.

Snowfall should clear across NSW early on Wednesday morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has also warned that “significant areas” of both NSW and the ACT will experience “gusty and potentially damaging wind conditions”, building from this afternoon and lasting into tomorrow.

Sydney is set to see a top of 18C tomorrow and a low of 9C, while Canberra can expect a top of just 14C and a minimum of -1C.

“These winds have the potential to bring down trees and powerlines, and the State Emergency Service is urging people to clean-up loose items around their properties, take care if involved in outdoor activities, and reconsider marine activities such as boating or rock fishing, especially with school holidays underway,” the BOM said.

“Snow and ice may lead to dangerous conditions on the roads, and people are being urged to drive to conditions.”

Hazardous surf conditions are also forecast for areas between Sydney and Port Macquarie, developing tomorrow and persisting into Wednesday.

‘Return to winter’

In Victoria, the worst of the system will occur through this afternoon and into tonight, with the snow level dropping to around 500 metres tonight.

“It’s a return to winter, with a cold front bringing showers, storms, strong winds, small hail and low level snow,” BOM senior meteorologist Christie Johnson said.

“That means the Grampians, Dandenongs, Otways, Ballarat and places like that could see some snow flurries this evening.

“Isolated thunderstorms are occurring within today and behind today’s front, and are possible over all but the far northwest of the state. They can bring strong wind gusts and small hail but are not expected to be severe.”

As for tomorrow, it’ll be cold again — but the snow will contract to above 1200 metres by the afternoon, and showers will ease, with conditions easing and temperatures increasing by Wednesday.

Melbourne will see a high of 13C on Tuesday and a low of 6C, with Hobart also expecting a top of 13C and low of 5C.

Elsewhere around the country, Adelaide will reach a minimum of 15C and minimum of 7C tomorrow, Brisbane can expect a high of 23C and low of 17C, and Darwin remains sunny and fine with a top of 37C and low of 23C.

Residents in Perth can also expect good conditions tomorrow, with a top of 27C and low of 12C.

Mr Saunders said that this kind of system was “perfectly normal” for this time of year.

“Often in spring we see very cold air masses from Antarctica surging north across the southern parts of the country,” he said.

“Cold weather at this time of year rarely lasts long, and temperatures will be back near average on Wednesday afternoon.”

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