Season in review

Update: Added outcome for 2-4 September system

Our snow season is far from over, but the big melt will soon start.  Now’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve seen so far, with archive charts from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology:


Fall #1: 14-16 June


After a near-record warm May, this was the rather late season starter for NSW (Victoria dipped). The resorts claimed up to 30 cm snowfall.

My call:  Made from 19 days out(!!); event came in a couple of days late; my update missed the isolated 14 June NSW fall.


Fall #2: 23-25 June


This was the big one; up to 1.2 m of aggregate snowfall for a net gain of 88 cm at Spencers Creek, the eleventh-highest weekly gain on record (interpolated 7-day gains).

My call:  Made from onset-6 days; timing ok; I foreshadowed the possibility of a dump from 4 days out, but didn’t really see the very large fall coming until 22 June (in a separate post).


Fall #3: 28-30 June


A repeat system brought another very substantial fall; at least 50 cm of aggregate snowfall. The week-on-week gain at Spencers Creek was a slightly disappointing 28 cm, probably due to consolidation of the previous week’s dump underneath.

My call:  Made from onset-7 days; most unusually the initial timing was about 1.5 days too late (corrected in updates); event scale pretty good.


Fall #4: 9-11 July


Yet another nice fall, aggregating up to about 70 cm counting the wet little pre-event on 5 July.

My call:  Made from onset-14 days; call timing 1 day early from 14 days; event scale about right.


Fall #5: 16-18 July


This was a decent fall too, but not of the scale of the previous three. One resort claimed a dubious total snowfall of 50 cm, but the weekly depth gain was a small fraction of that.

My call:  Made from onset-8 days; timing good. The pre-event on 14-15 July was not nearly as wet as I expected early on — something of a theme with little wandering lows this season.


Fall #6: 1-2 August


This small snow event delivered a cold and windy 20 cm fall.

My call:  Made from 6 days out; timing good; scale good.


Fall #7: 17-18 August


This was an unusual upper-atmosphere system that delivered a surprise 20 cm of very wet snow to higher elevations in NSW.

My call:  Completely missed it, expecting rain.


Fall #8: 2-4 September


A traditional, vigorous cold front. Perisher Valley resort claimed 20 cm snowfall off about 30 mm of precipitation, while Falls Creek claimed just 6 cm.

My call: Made from 10 days out; timing good, but overcooked it. Much weaker than expected; called for follow-up fizzled.


So that’s it; just eight snowfalls made this season — one of the better ones in recent years. In my experience that count is far from unusual. Our snow season is brief and fragile.