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‘Polar blast’ to end hot spell

Map shows temperatures at 2pm Saturday when it could be 30C in Sydney and below 10C in Hobart and Melbourne.
Map shows temperatures at 2pm Saturday when it could be 30C in Sydney and below 10C in Hobart and Melbourne.

IT'S going to be a case of out of the frying pan and into the freezer this weekend as boiling summer time temperatures suddenly give way to winter as a "polar blast" sweeps through the most populated parts of Australia.

Forecasters have predicted highs in the 30s, hot winds, possible dust storms and an increased bushfire risk. But that will be followed by storms and the chance of frost and hail.

Across much of southeast Australia, maximum daytime highs could drop by almost half from one day to the next while the nights will turn chilly.

Sydney's beaches will he heaving on Saturday as the mercury sizzles up to 31C - that's 11C above average. Yet, on Sunday, it will struggle to reach just 17C. Lows will be a distinctly chilly 8-9C across the Harbour City.

At 2pm on Saturday while Sydney swelters in the 30s, it could be just 10C in Hobart and Melbourne which will likely feel the frigid front first with the change happening between Friday and Saturday.

Map shows temperatures at 2pm Saturday when it could be 30C in Sydney and below 10C in Hobart and Melbourne.
Map shows temperatures at 2pm Saturday when it could be 30C in Sydney and below 10C in Hobart and Melbourne.

Sky News meteorologist Tom Saunders said the culprit was a strong front heading in from the southwest.

"A vigorous cold front will cause strong to gale-force winds across southeast Australia on Saturday leading to inland dust storms and potentially major bushfires.

"The windy conditions will combine with unseasonably high temperatures to lift fire dangers to severe levels through parts of eastern NSW. Sydney is forecast to hit 31C - 11C above average for this time of year," he said.

But then, it's all change.

"A polar blast will follow with snow falling to low levels across Tasmania and Victoria.

"Often the worst bushfires along the east coast of Australia occur when snow is falling over Tasmania and Victoria and this weekend is the classic weather pattern for such a set-up."
That's because hot weather is often a feature ahead of a cold front. So while the southernmost states are feeling a chill wind, in NSW it will still be heating up with desert air from northern Australia.

Rain could be a feature of the weekend in South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

The weekend weather follows a week that has seen temperatures seesaw. Parts of suburban Sydney saw a high of above 30C on Wednesday. They fell back again on Thursday but will climb to 24C today and further on Saturday ahead of the oncoming front.

Adelaide could see 25C today with a possible shower. On Saturday it is a different story and it could even hail in the city with a high of just 14C on a windy and chilly weekend.

Sun today, with a high of 22C in Melbourne, will give way to rain on Saturday and the possibility of an afternoon thunderstorm. A high of 16C on Saturday and 14C on Sunday. It will feel wintry on Sunday morning with a low of just 5C.

Hobart will see 21C and sun today. But Saturday will reach just 13C with a shiver-inducing low of 4C. Expect some rain.

The mild mornings in Canberra will come to an abrupt end this weekend. A high of 21C on Saturday will change to 14C on Sunday and a freezing -1C on Sunday morning. At least it will be sunny.

Perth has already felt the chill. A mild but sunny weekend will see highs around 19C but cold lows at 5C and frost across inland areas. It will be cooler in the southwest corner with Albany on 16C with some showers.

Oh to be in Brisbane where it will be 27-28C all weekend and sunny. A scorching Darwin will reach 35C on Saturday and Sunday.

Topics:  editors picks hot and cold tempretures weather weekend weather