It looks like many Australian resorts will see the snow base crack the two metre mark this weekend with big falls due on Saturday. Weather conditions are also shaping up nicely for New Zealand this weekend following a top up of fresh snow on Thursday and Friday.
Our resident meteorologist, Alex Zadnik, delivers his weekly snow forecast report for Australia and New Zealand below.
The past week has seen snow depths continue to build at the Australian resorts, with some perfect powder days in between bouts of strong winds. The snow base is now close to 180 centimetres at Falls Creek, Hotham, Perisher and Thredbo, which is on par with the same time last year.
An approaching cold front was generating strong to gale force winds across the Australian resorts this morning, with severe weather warnings in place for elevated areas. Wind gusts to 111km/hr were recorded at Thredbo Top Station and 96km/hr at Mt Buller. Milder air ahead of this front will give way to colder air and snow showers through the day as it progresses eastwards across Victoria and NSW.
10-20cm of fresh snow is possible by Thursday morning, with the upper end of this range most likely about the higher peaks of Hotham, Falls, Thredbo and Perisher.
Thursday is looking like a good day to hit the slopes with easing winds and fresh snow underfoot. Visibility should be reasonable thanks to the easing winds and diminishing moisture levels in the wake of the front.
Fresh to strong northwest winds will return during Friday but the morning may still offer some nice skiing and boarding. These winds will herald the approach of a second strong cold front that will deliver another significant dump of fresh snow during Saturday.
Saturday will be a challenging day with strong winds, persistent snow falls and reduced visibility but keen skiers and boarders might find some nice turns as the snow accumulates.
20-30cm of fresh snow is likely from Saturday into Sunday morning, which should push the base past the 2 metre mark at Falls, Hotham, Thredbo and Perisher.
Sunday should offer excellent fresh snow for those in the mountains. Visibility should also improve at these resorts, but probably won’t be perfect as strong southwesterly winds and isolated snow showers persist. Make sure you have some warm gear and good googles handy but definitely get up there if you can.
Monday (20th August) should also offer great conditions as winds ease and temperatures remain below zero for the majority of the day.
Another cold front may brush southeastern Australia mid next week and bring a further small top up of snow, but then a high pressure system looks like keeping skies clear and dry for the remainder of next week.
There have only been some small snow accumulations over the South Island in the past week but Ruapehu on the North Island has seen a more significant boost. The upper slopes of Whakapapa and Turoa have seen more than 80cm of fresh snow over the past 7-days, pushing the base above two metres.
Heavy snow showers and gale-force winds over Ruapehu are expected to ease during Wednesday in the wake of a cold front, while the South Island resorts will remain mostly dry.
Winds will strengthen across the South Island during Wednesday afternoon and evening, before the arrival of a cold front on Thursday. Expect five to 15 centimetres of fresh snow for the Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Treble Cone and Cardrona during Thursday, with an additional few centimetres possible on Friday.
Similar totals are expected for Mt Hutt across this two day period. Ruapehu should pick up another 30 centimetres, with the heaviest and lowest level falls occurring on Friday. South Island resorts should see an an easing of winds and snow showers on Friday, so this looks like a great day for skiing and boarding.
The weekend weather is looking excellent for the most part, with a ridge of high pressure creating mostly clear and dry conditions.
Saturday is probably the pick of the days on the South Island, with winds expected to freshen during Sunday.
Sunday will probably offer the best weather conditions for Turoa and Whakapapa.
A large low pressure system looks like crossing New Zealand early to mid next, bringing the prospect of significant snow falls to both islands.
Keep an eye on the Snowsbest.com 7-day forecast totals over the next few days for likely snow amounts with this system.