A polar blast could bring the most significant snowfall since 2015 to southern Queensland, but it won’t be the only state hit by freezing conditions.
Snow could settle on southern Queensland soil for the first time in years this week, as a polar blast and wild weather settles over much of the east coast.
Almost all parts of Queensland will be colder than average on Thursday, but the Granite Belt, west of Brisbane, is most likely to be affected, with temperatures expected to be between 5-9 degrees below average.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting Stanthorpe to shiver through a -2C morning, with temperatures only heating up to 10C, meaning snow could fall on the ground in the town for the first time since 2015.
“Around Stanthorpe, there is a chance of snow anytime tomorrow. It’s unlikely to settle (in town) but we could see it settling in the peaks around Girraween,” meteorologist Pieter Claassen said.
“The last time this region saw snow was June 4, 2019, in Eukey, but the snow didn’t settle. Snow did settle on the ground in Pyramids Road in Girraween in 2019.
“The major snow event in 2015 was the largest event since 1984 … but this won’t be as significant as that event.”
Mr Claassen said NSW should expect to receive a widespread snow event, particularly in the Northern Tablelands, Central Tablelands and the Southern Ranges.
“The moisture and cloud cover needed will only just touch the southern Queensland border. But further south in parts of NSW they could see significant snowfall,” he said.
Snow levels in NSW could drop to 800m, and could possibly fall to as low as 500m.
Meanwhile, the cold front will mean Brisbane will shiver through a series of cold mornings, with temperatures as low as 6C expected on Thursday morning
“A cold front will move through later on Wednesday morning which will bring cool west to south-westerly winds, which will drop maximum temperatures down by around 4C,” Mr Claassen said.
While a maximum of 18C is forecast for Brisbane on Wednesday, the overnight minimum could drop to 6C for Thursday morning.
In Ipswich, the Thursday minimum will be 3C, while Toowoomba will shiver through a day hovering between 3-10C.
West to south-westerly winds of up to 35km/h would make it feel colder, Mr Claassen warned.
Temperatures will remain below average well into next week before the cold front dissipates.
Elsewhere, much of NSW and the ACT will experience a significant drop in temperatures over coming days, with some areas expected to be more than 10C below average and many areas expected to be more than 5C below average.
Meanwhile, thousands of residents in Victoria are being told to brace for damaging winds during Wednesday, as a low pressure system moves over central parts of the state.
A Bureau of Meteorology warning for people in Central, North Central, West and South Gippsland, and parts of East Gippsland, South West, Northern Country, North East and Wimmera forecast districts said another low would “rapidly deepen” near the east Gippsland coast on Wednesday night.
“Damaging southerly winds, averaging 50 to 60km/h with peak gusts of 90 to 10 km/h, are possible about the coastal fringe and about elevated areas in the west early Wednesday morning,” the warning said.
“Winds are then expected to tend southeasterly and extend over central and eastern parts of the warning area during Wednesday afternoon and evening, including the Melbourne metropolitan area.
“Winds are likely to average 60 to 70km/h overnight into Thursday about the southern Gippsland coast and the central and Gippsland ranges, with peak gusts reaching around 110km/h.
“Blizzard conditions are possible about the alpine peaks late Wednesday and Thursday morning.”
Sheep graziers in South Australia’s Mount Lofty Ranges, Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Flinders, Mid North, Riverland, Murraylands, Upper South East, Lower South East, North West and North East Pastoral forecast districts have been warned about cold temperatures, showers and southerly winds.
“There is a risk of losses of lambs and sheep exposed to these conditions,” the bureau said.
A similar warning is active for sheep graziers in Western Australia’s Central West, Lower West, South West, Great Southern and Central Wheat Belt forecast districts, where north-easterly winds, showers and cold temperatures are expected on Wednesday.
A severe weather warning is active for people in South West and parts of Lower West Western Australia, where higher than usual tides and “squally weather” are forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.
The bureau is warning the high tides could cause flooding of low-lying coastal areas, and damaging surf conditions could cause significant beach erosion.
“Damaging winds with gusts to 90km/h are possible and could cause damage to homes and property on Wednesday night and Thursday morning,” a warning said.
In Tasmania, a severe weather warning for damaging winds is active for people in Furneaux Islands, North East and parts of East Coast, North West Coast, Central North, Central Plateau and Midlands forecast districts.
Winds averaging 60 to 70km/h with peak gusts of 90km/h are expected to develop during Wednesday afternoon but should ease by Thursday.