Snow, cold temps for eastern Australia

An icy blast will hit much of eastern Australia in the next few days, sending temperatures lower.
An icy blast will hit much of eastern Australia in the next few days, sending temperatures lower.

Winter has officially arrived for much of eastern Australia, with an icy blast bringing widespread snowfall and sending temperatures plummeting.

In NSW, the mercury is expected to dip more than 10 degrees below average for this time of year in some places and come close to breaking minimum temperature records for June.

Significant snowfall is expected across the state, including in the Northern Tablelands for the first time in almost six years.

"We're also going to see fairly widespread snowfall across the ranges all the way up towards the Queensland border," the Bureau of Meteorology's Gabrielle Woodhouse told reporters on Wednesday.

"Last time we saw widespread snowfall up through the Northern Tablelands was during an event in July 2015, so it is relatively unusual."

Snow has already begun to fall in regional NSW, including in Orange in the state's Central West and Oberon in the Central Tablelands.

Up to half-a-metre is expected to blanket the state's alpine regions.

Strong winds and heavy rain forecast for the south coast later this week will add to the chill factor.

Snow is also likely in the Sunshine State, with temperatures in Queensland dropping up to 10 degrees below seasonal averages as well.

But it will feel even cooler than forecast, Meteorologist Pieter Claassen says.

The Granite Belt may be treated to a sprinkling of snow on Wednesday and Thursday on peaks in the Stanthorpe region.

Tropical north Queensland hasn't been spared either.

The NSW Origin team will feel slightly more at home for the series opener in Townsville on Wednesday, with temperatures to feel like 12 degrees at kick-off.

Victoria will also be blasted by the cold weather, but is facing damaging winds and potential flooding as well.

Wind gusts of up to 120km an hour are expected in some places and blizzard conditions are possible about the alpine peaks on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall is also current, with Warrnambool, Bendigo, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne and Traralgon in the firing line.

A flood watch has been issued for Gippsland and parts of north east and central Victoria.

"It is likely that we'll see those rivers responding to that significant amount of rainfall, the rivers may remain quite high for a number of days," meteorologist Christopher Arvier said.

Flash flooding is also possible across the state.

Tasmania is in a similar boat.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds is current for north-eastern parts of Tasmania, and a flood watch has been issued for the eastern half of the state.

Around 160mm of rain is possible about the northeast coastal ranges.

Minor or moderate flooding may develop from midday on Thursday, and flash flooding is also possible.

The weather should begin to clear out by the weekend, the BOM says.

Australian Associated Press