Winter in Stanthorpe (Image: Southern Downs Council)

By Liam MacGillivray, produced for Online by Naveen Razik.

A cold snap is set to sweep across the South East, with temperatures to plummet this weekend.

So far in 2018 autumn has been quite warm with temperatures well above average, but an end to a long stretch of pleasant weather is expected in Mid-May, with colder temperatures forecast for the rest of the month.

The cause of the early chill can be traced to a blast of Antarctic air, sweeping through the east coast of Australia.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Harry Clark is already warning residents to rug up for the weekend.

“During the next few days we’ll have a few showers around and fairly warm conditions, but come Friday, it’ll be fairly gusty, fairly breezy,” he explains.

“[Afterwards] some really cool nights will take over much of the state. Brisbane will drop from a minimum of 17 on Friday down to a minimum of nine on Saturday.”

Mr Clark expects the mercury to drop even lower in the west.

“Ipswich will drop down to a minimum of five degrees on Saturday,” he says.

“It’ll definitely the coolest spell we’ve had this year and the end of last winter.”

Frost is also expected to sweep across the Sunshine State for the first time this year.

“Those southerly winds will bring some cooler air with them, and more importantly some really dry air,” Mr Clark explains.

“Dry air really lets the heat escape at night and drop really quickly. That’s why we’ve got those cool minimum temperatures. ”

“So parts of Queensland may experience some frost for the first time this year.”

Granite Belt residents embracing cool change

Winter frost is a familiar sight in Stanthorpe and residents in the region are already hunkering down for the cold snap.

Southern Downs councillor Rod Kelly says he was taken aback at the abrupt change in conditions but is already well prepared for frosty conditions.

“We’ve seen maximums of 12 degrees at this time this year [which] is very unusual,” he says.

“I’ve already set my fireplace, and I’ll putting the match to it on Friday morning.”

Cr Kelly expects the chill to bring a few extra tourists to the Southern Downs, many of whom will be hoping to see frost and possibly snow for the first time this year.

“It will give people an opportunity, particularly [on] Sunday to experience the chill,” he says.

He also sent a warning to northern neighbours, with temperatures in Brisbane on Monday expected to hit 15 degrees, dropping to a low of six.

“Those sorts of temperatures you’d see very rarely in Brisbane, yet you’re going to see them in May,” he says.