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Bitterly Cold Antarctic Surge To Snap-Freeze Eastern Australia

Don't let the relatively mild start to the week in most parts of Australia fool you.

A huge cold airmass is headed eastern Australia's way later this week, which promises to be the biggest cold snap of the year to date.

And before you ask, yes, such snap freezes are definitely still possible in an age of human-caused climate change.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, July was the fourth-warmest month on average for Australia as a whole, with nationwide temperatures 1.6 degrees above average.

The January-to-July period was the second-warmest on record, and countless heat records have been smashed Australia-wide this year. But as mentioned, occasional northward surges of Antarctic air are still a feature of winter weather patterns.

And this week's cold storm looks like a doozy.

A representation of the weather in Australia on Thursday evening. Image: tropicaltidbits.com.

The storm should roll in on Thursday and persist right through the weekend. Even if you can't read a traditional weather map, the one above should give you an idea.

Blue means extremely cold air. And that airmass will stick around from at least Thursday to Saturday.

So what will it mean for your part of the south-east? Here's a quick summary:

Melbourne

From Wednesday it will be showery, and from Thursday through to Sunday it'll be showery and absolutely freezing, with squally winds, possible small hail, and snow on nearby hills. Maximum temps will struggle to reach double digits, so if you're heading to the footy this weekend, wear three scarfs.

Even the trams will be shivering. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Sydney

Sydney should stay dry, as is often the case with these weather systems, because the weather comes from the west, leaves all its moisture on the mountains, then has nothing left as it hits the coast. But there will still be cold, blustery winds and the Blue Mountains and Central Tablelands should see snow.

Canberra

It could actually snow in Canberra for the first time in a couple of years. The snow level is predicted to be around 600-700 metres above sea level, and Canberra city sits on about 600 metres. Either way, we recommend indoor activities.

A snow-covered Black Mountain in Canberra in 2016. (Photo by Martin Ollman/Getty Images)

Hobart

Freezing. Showery. What do you expect? There are six days of snow forecast on Mt Wellington, and that snow may come pretty close to the suburbs and city at times.

Adelaide

Cold and showery with maximum temperatures no higher than 13 or 14 from Thursday to Sunday. Make mulled wine.

The snowfields

Snow! Snow! Snow! This promises to be the biggest dump of the season. In fact this storm has been well and truly on the radar of snow lovers for several days already.

Up to a metre of snow is forecast from Thursday through to Saturday, with a follow-up dump on Monday. In what has been a good season at higher resorts so far, but a lean season at lower resorts, this should bring heavy snow to all.

There is likely to be absolute traffic chaos in both the Victorian and NSW snowfields, so if you happen to be heading down this weekend, check road conditions here for NSW and here for Victoria.

*Ant Sharwood is 10 daily's sports editor, but also has a keen interest in winter weather and climate change as a lifelong skier and mountain enthusiast.