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Snow

While snow is relatively common in Australia, it is one of the least monitored and discussed of weather phenomena. Snow lies each winter for 3 or 4 months on the Australian Alps in Victoria and NSW, and less reliably on the highlands of Tasmania. Elsewhere, snowfalls range from uncommon to rare and are usually associated with deep intrusions of cold southerly airmasses. This section pulls together the relatively sparse information on our alpine snow and the rarer non-alpine snow events.

  1. Current and forecast snow
    1. Snow reports, skicams and forecasts from Ski.com.au. The 24-hour weather station graphs (click in the history column) are particularly useful, as are the NSW, VIC and TAS webcams. (31/08/05)
    2. Australian snow forecasts, maps and related links (22/12/02)
    3. Frequently updated Alpine Weather Observations from John Barratt uses graphs to monitor temperature, precipitation and estimated and measured snowfall at many resort stations. There is also a useful archive of webcam inages from ski.com.au. (22/06/04)
  2. Alpine snow
    1. Snowfall on the NSW Snowy Mountains (PDF, 1.7mb), a Bureau of Meteorology Technical Report by John Colquhoun that studies the synoptic situations that produce snowfalls on the Snowy Mountains. The report includes two case studies from 1974, looks at variations in the water content and density of the snowpack, and examines the relationship between the atmospheric circulation and precipitation in the area. Reproduced by kind permission of the Bureau. (14/07/04)
    2. Snow in Australia: Trends and Variability; excerpts from a paper by David Slater. (22/12/02)
    3. Snowfalls in New South Wales 1957 to 1979, a general description of the conditions required for snow accumulation followed by a detailed analysis of each ski season in the NSW Snowy Mountains and more widespread falls across NSW. PDF format. (22/12/02)
    4. Snow depth graphs from the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority. This pdf file gives nice set of Snowy Mtns snow depth charts from 1954 to date, all on one A4 sheet while this form lets you retrieve comparative snow depth graphs from 1954 to 2002. (22/12/02)
  3. Non-alpine snow, including widespread and unusual snowfalls
    1. Annual average days of snow for all Australian stations where snow has been reported:
      1. From highest to lowest
      2. WA, NT, SA and QLD
      3. NSW
      4. VIC
      5. TAS, islands and Antarctica
    2. The snowstorm of 5 July 1900 was arguably the worst snowstorm to occur in recorded history away from the Alps. Its likely causes were examined by Doug Shepherd in a Meteorological Note Extraordinary Snowstorm of 5 July 1900 (PDF, 0.5mb), reproduced by kind permission of the Bureau of Meteorology. This graphic description of the storm (PDF), by H. C. Russell was published in Results of Rain, River and Evaporation Observations made in New South Wales during 1900, Met of NSW Dept of Instruction 1903. (14/07/04)
    3. ABC News covering the major July 1965 NSW snowstorm, broadcast at 7pm Sunday 18 July 1965. This sound clip gives a good feel for what was a most extraordinary event (and a reminder of how leisurely the news was in those days!) The 7pm ABC radio news was the major news bulletin of the day, and the NSW snow story headed both the national and state sections (separated by a "bing" to tell the regional stations to poke their local newsreaders into action.) The broadcast has been edited to remove non-snow stories from the national section -- in the state section, the snowstorm was the only news. (21/08/04)
    4. The Blue Mountains snow storm of 17-18 July 1965. This article (PDF) extracted from the August 1965 edition of the Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Digest describes the impact of a major snowstorm on the Blue Mountains (and elsewhere in NSW) on railway operations. (22/12/02)
    5. Snow and weather on the Northern Tablelands, NSW. Details of snowfalls since 1971 for Armidale and since 1982 for Guyra, and the conditions required for snow in the area. Go to the bottom of the page for the most important links. Brief information on weather at Uralla, Glen Innes and Tenterfield. (03/05/11)
    6. Blackheath Weather. Observations, photos and information on snow in the Blue Mountains and Central Tablelands of NSW. (06/06/06)