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Polar air mass to blast south-east

Written by on May 17, 2024

A cold polar air mass will send temperatures plummeting this weekend on the nation’s southeast and could prompt snowfall in Alpine regions.

The weather system could bring rain and sub-zero temperatures to some parts of NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia on Saturday and Sunday.

However, the wintry blast will reach Melbourne on Friday afternoon and Sydney later that night.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Senior Meteorologist Christie Johnson said the cold front in Australia’s south east will “continue up the coast of NSW” on Friday night, bring a strong barage of “southerly winds pushing in behind it”.

“That’s going to give us strong to gale force marine warnings, and also hazardous surf along the NSW coast,” she said.

“We can also see that the showers associated with that system are quite coastal, perhaps extending to the ranges, but not to inland parts of the country.”

The icy air mass will likely bring snow to southern alpine regions, with the snow level expected to drop down to 600 metres in Tasmania

Despite the icy blasts, a strong dry southeasterly flow across Australia’s interior could bring increased fire dangers to parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, and north eastern South Australia.

“As that combines with warm temperatures in the Pilbara, we could see extreme fire danger and there is a fire weather warning out for parts of the Pilbara,” said Ms Johnson.

This is what the weather will look like in each city:


Hobart locals will have to pop on another layer on the weekend as the maximum temperature scrapes a high of 12 to 14°C,

This is about two to three degrees below the average for May.


Melbourne will hit a high of just 14°C on Saturday. However, Sunday morning is looking far cooler with a minimum of 7C in the early morning.

South Australia

A bitterly cold morning is ahead for Adelaide residents on Sunday, with a minimum of just 5-6°C.

This will be the first of a four-day stretch when the temperature won’t exceed 17-18 °C.


A minimum of 13C is expected in Canberra on Saturday.

Locals will wake up to a freezing low of – 1°C on Sunday, with possible frost throughout the morning.


Sydney residents are bracing for temperatures to drop below 20C this weekend with highs of 17-19°C both days.

Night-time temperatures will drop to 7-9°C.


Brisbane is set to experience some below average chill this weekend with a minimum of 11-12°C on early Sunday and Monday mornings.

Strong southerly winds will add to the windchill and could make it feel 5C cooler.

Northern Territory

Darwin will escape the cold blasting the south-east this weekend and is headed toward a high of 34C on Saturday and 33C on Sunday.

Western Australia

Perth locals will also experience a warmer autumn weekend with a high of 29C on Saturday and 28C on Sunday.