Get Everything Warm Out Of The Cupboard, 'Antarctic Wednesday' Is Coming

Brrrrrrrrr, here it comes. Potentially the most severe autumn cold snap in two decades.

We're going to call this thing "Antarctic Wednesday", although it will likely start as early as Tuesday.

It's a big southerly cold weather system which will affect the whole of south-east Australia -- a bit like the one we had two weeks ago but even colder.

This will probably be the coldest May weather system since 200. Inset image: Getty.

Long-time weather-watchers are even nostalgically comparing this to the famous late May blizzard in the year 2000, when temperatures plunged and snow fell fell to extremely low levels across NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

The NRL match at Canberra Stadium at the time was played on a field totally coated in snow.

So what's happening exactly?

Well, the first thing you should know is that it's been exceptionally warm so far this autumn across virtually the whole of Australia. To cite just two examples,:

  • Melbourne's daily average maximum this May has been 18.7. It's usually 16.7.
  • Sydney's daily average maximum this May has been 22.9. It's usually 19.5.

The warm Aussie autumn of 2019 is almost certainly a climate change-related thing, in two ways. Firstly, the atmosphere overall is getting warmer. And secondly, meteorologists say that Southern Ocean cold fronts are being pushed ever further south as the world warms.

READ MORE: Victorian Beach Turns White With 'Snow' In Autumn Cold Snap

But those cold fronts can still break through, tracking northwards directly from Antarctica, and that's forecast to happen next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Especially Wednesday. That's the day we're calling "Antarctic Wednesday".

See the four day map below -- issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on Friday afternoon? It shows that the first of several cold fronts will hit Melbourne on Saturday night. But the really cold stuff is lurking on the Tuesday night chart, bottom right.

When that final front passes through on Wednesday morning, it'll deliver a real burst of Antarctic air. All of this means that:

  • From Sunday onwards, MELBOURNE maximums will reach only the low teens and not get any warmer for the rest of the week. Wednesday will be the coldest day with a top of 13 and showers.
  • SYDNEY is often spared the worst of these cold snaps, but from Wednesday onwards, maximum temps will plummet from the mid 20s into the teens. It should remain dry, however, which is bad news for the city's already depleted dams.
  • SNOW LOVERS can rejoice, as this series of fronts should bring up to 60 cm of snow to the mountains, in NSW and VIC just 10 days ahead of the June long weekend official ski season opening. Throw snowmaking into the equation, and it looks like there'll definitely be skiable snow this year on the opening weekend.

So enjoy this weekend, and try to make the most of things until it turns cold and nasty if you live down south. We'll bring you more on this storm system in the new week.