Rain, snow and f’ing floods: the Aussie snow-season roller coaster continues

The Aussie ski season roller coaster continues this week beginning with heavy rain today, before the arrival of another cold front tomorrow, which is expected to bring heavy snow falls to low levels on Saturday through Tuesday.

The ‘R’ word!

Rain has fallen across the mountains today causing widespread damage to the existing snow cover.  This is disappointing for the resorts who have until recently enjoyed epic conditions, with snow falls of up to 75 cm, just 11 days ago (see our post here). Heavy rain fell everywhere today, and no one was spared: Falls Creek received 42 mm, Buller 47 mm, Hotham 60 mm, Thredbo 75 mm, and Perisher, a whopping 125 mm.  Ugly!


Image: Thredbo in flood, images by Peter Tryde shared on the Snowatch’s Facebook page

The good news!

With the prefrontal rain out of the way for now, the resorts can expect snow to arrive later tonight, with widespread snowfalls on Saturday, Sunday and Monday to around 1000 m, with up to 47 cm expected (Snowatch).  The synoptics paint a very nice picture, with a series of cold fronts and low pressure troughs passing through the mountains over the weekend, and again on Monday.

23 July

Image: a series of sexy synoptic charts

The prediction for widespread and significant snowfalls is supported in the  MSLP ‘pressure/thickness/rainfall’ charts, which also tell a very nice story.  The arrival of the the cold fronts on the weekend and again on Monday is supported by very cold air, as indicated by the position of the 5400 line (tick blue line) and colossal amounts of moisture, as indicated by the predicted rainfall amounts (which will fall as snow above 1000 m) over the south-eastern highlands (see below).

Forecasts for Saturday and Monday show between 10 and 20 ml on Saturday and between 10 and 30 ml  on Monday.  With 1 ml of rain equating to around 1 cm of snow, this translates to very good snowfalls and hopefully good accumulations, particularly at higher elevations.

23 July.jsp


About the author:

49d86-2016-02-212b14-53-13Glenn is a marine scientist and avid skiier from Melbourne, Australia. He moved to Perth in 1999 where he now resides with his young family. Glenn spent most of his youth skiing Hotham, where in 1998 he worked as a dish-washer and pizza maker, jobs which he still describes as the best of his life. Glenn founded Snowriders WA in April 2015 as a meeting point for fellow skiiers and boarders. He also has an unhealthy interest in statistics, which you may have gathered from his endless pursuit and analysis of historical snowfall data.

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