Supplied  Three cold fronts in quick succession will bring heavy rain and winds
 to SE Australia. Picture: Sky News Weather
Supplied Three cold fronts in quick succession will bring heavy rain and winds to SE Australia. Picture: Sky News Weather

‘Polar pulses’ blast Australia

Parts of Australia are likely to feel the full force of winter later this week as a triple whammy of Antarctic air blasts its way across the southern states.

Expect downpours, up to gale force winds and snow on higher ground as a trio of "powerful" cold fronts roll across South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT and Tasmania.

The first "pulse of polar air" will reach SA on Wednesday, with the second and more powerful system reaching the southeast on Friday before a final front to round off the weekend.

Between 25-50mm of rain could fall on the mainland and up to 150mm in western Tasmania, a region that will take the full force of the fronts.

Stubborn high pressure sitting across the southeast has led to relatively clear skies and little in the way of rain in recent weeks. That's about to change.

"The areas of high pressure will be drifting towards the north of the continent by the middle of the week and will be sitting over Central Australia, and that allows for cold fronts and westerly winds to blast across the southeast," said Sky News Weather channel meteorologist Tom Saunders.

"Damaging winds are likely for all three fronts, heavy showers for the coastlines and ranges and alpine blizzards from Thursday onwards."

Winds in excess of 90km/h can be expected in some places.

The second of the polar pulses, due towards the end of the week, can be seen as the blue area covering the southeast. Picture: Sky News Weather
The second of the polar pulses, due towards the end of the week, can be seen as the blue area covering the southeast. Picture: Sky News Weather

WHEN WILL THE FRONTS ARRIVE?

Showers will reach Adelaide on Wednesday, Victoria later in the day and southern NSW early on Thursday. A second wave barrels through on Friday and the third will be mostly concentrated on Tasmania on Sunday.

"As each front comes through we're expecting a pulse of polar air," Mr Saunders said, with the chilliest temperatures on higher ground.

Between waves, there will be a brief lull as the pulse passes.

Adelaide is first in the firing line on Wednesday when up to 15mm of rain could fall. Expect showers, some heavy, each day after that. Maximum temperatures of around 15C are forecast, with lows bottoming out at about 8C later in the week. It'll be windy, with gusts reaching 45-55km/h.

Melbourne won't be as wet, and the rain won't arrive until later on Wednesday. But there could still be showers every day. Highs of around 15C, with the mercury dropping to as low as 7C, are forecast. Winds will whip up to 40km/h on Wednesday and 35km/h for the rest of the week.

Three cold fronts in quick succession will bring heavy rain and winds to southeast Australia. The red arrows are gale-force winds. Picture: Sky News Weather
Three cold fronts in quick succession will bring heavy rain and winds to southeast Australia. The red arrows are gale-force winds. Picture: Sky News Weather

It will be snowy up in the Alps with potentially up to 55mm of precipitation from Wednesday until Friday, gusts of 65km/h plus and temperatures down to -4C.

It's windy in Tassie as well and cold too. A high of 15C on Wednesday will fall to 12C on Friday with a low of 4C on Saturday morning in Hobart. Showers are forecast from Wednesday. It will be very wet on the west coast with 150mm of rain potentially falling on Strahan from Wednesday to Sunday.

Canberra could see windy conditions and showers from Thursday onwards. Highs of around 10C are expected and lows below freezing.

Sydney should escape much of the weather drama. It will be mostly sunny in the Harbour City with highs of 19C and lows of between 6 and 9C.

Clear skies are forecast in Brisbane with highs of 24C but chilly mornings down to about 10C. Darwin will reach 31C most days with sun and some cloud.

Perth will get some relief from the rain that has been punishing the city all winter. Partly cloudy days are forecast in the WA capital with highs of 19C and lows of between 6 and 9C.