'Big chill': Qld temps set to drop to lowest in 15 years

AUSTRALIANS are set to face the biggest outbreak of cold weather in the country since 2000.

A series of chilly Arctic fronts are expected to sweep over much of Australia this weekend, potentially causing temperatures to plummet to their lowest for 15 years, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Temperatures are set to drop to single digits or below zero across the south east, while snowfall is anticipated for the Australian Alpine region on Saturday and could also cover Australia's largest mountain range, the Great Dividing Range, on Sunday.

>> Freezing cold conditions predicted for Toowoomba

Barry Hanstrum, the Bureau of Meteorology New South Wales' Regional Director said: "We're expecting temperatures will plummet, winds will be fresh to strong, and snow will fall down to low elevations."

The bitterly cold conditions will leave Adelaide and Melbourne experiencing icy lows on Saturday, while Sydney will get a dose of the wintery weather on Sunday.

Inland areas such as Penrith and Richmond can expect highs of 13 degrees on Sunday, while Katoomba, a town in he City of Blue Mountains, New South Wales will see a maximum of just 6 degrees with snow expected on both Sunday and Monday.

Zero temperatures will extend across Tasmania and Victoria according to the Bureau.

Snow in Stanthorpe 1984 I wsa just a lil kid... it has happened in the past and can happen again...

Posted by Shantelle Jade Merrison on Thursday, July 9, 2015

The chance of capital city, Canberra experiencing a dusting of snowfall however is at just 20-30 per cent.

Dr Blair Trewin, senior climatologist with the Bureau, told the Brisbane Times that the last time Australia had such a large northward spread of snowfall was in May 2000, but said that the impending cold snap "won't be quite as significant but it may be in a broad scale sense."

Emergency services are warning motorists and those planning outdoor activities such as skiing or camping to prepare carefully for the cold conditions, with some resorts expected to get over 50cm of snow.

NSW SES Commissioner Adam Dent said that people should take extra care if snow is forecast in their area and people should be prepared for possible power outages.

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