A region of cold, polar air is set to track across three states this weekend, with the snow level dipping below the 1000 metre mark in both Victoria and southern NSW.
The leading edge of this cold airmass has already generated some wild weather over the southeastern states in the past 24 hours, particularly through Adelaide. Thunderstorms and associated gale-force winds brought damage to some Adelaide suburbs, along with heavy downpours of rain. Gale-force winds have also been experienced through the alpine resorts of Victoria and NSW, with gusts exceeding 100km/h at the top of Thredbo. These winds are reducing visibility, creating blizzard conditions on the highest slopes.
The coldest part of the airmass will track across the eastern half of South Australia during Saturday and into western parts of Victoria and southwestern NSW. Maximum temperatures will struggle to get much above 12 degrees for towns between Adelaide and Melbourne, with even colder temperatures for more elevated regional centres. One example is Ballarat (480 metres above sea level), which is expecting a top temperature of just 8 degrees today.
The coldest part of the airmass will reach northeast Victoria and southern NSW during Sunday, with the snow level lowering to around the 800 metre level. This means there is not just going to be snow falls in the alpine resorts, but also down into surrounding valleys.
Showers of rain and small hail can also be expected across South Australia and Victoria this weekend, adding to the real winter feel. Melbourne's temperature is not expected to exceed 12 degrees all weekend, so many will be tempted to stay indoors. Canberra has a forecast maximum of just 9 degrees for Sunday, with the temperature remaining lower than that for the majority of the day.
Sydney will also feel the cold and biting winds towards the end of the weekend, but should be sheltered from any shower activity that will be falling on the western side of the Dividing Range.
© Weatherzone 2012
18:33 EST Over the past 24 hours, a northwest cloud band has delivered some spectacular rain from the northwest WA to the inland SA and the NT.