Honestly, some years you want to be Alex Zadnik, our meteorologist. Take last year for example, he delivered epic powder days and snowfall almost all season long.
This year, however, not so much. Though, to be fair our season peaked way too early with 85 centimetres (and then some) the week before the June long weekend. It’s like drinking too many cocktails at happy hour, you’re just not going to make it to midnight without any help (espresso martini anyone?).
That’s where snow making comes along and boy have the Australian resorts been pumping those guns. Especially after the R word that dare not speak it’s name showed up after the big early season dump.
We’re pleased to say Alex may, just may, be back in all our good books this week as there is (some) snow on the horizon for Australia’s resorts. We just have to get through the ‘moist’ days first.
Here’s his report for the week ahead.
Australia – rain tending to snow
The past week has provided ideal snow-making conditions across the Victorian and New South Wales resorts, with sub zero overnight temperatures. A large high pressure system has also kept winds relatively light and created mostly clear skies.
This high started to drift out over the Tasman Sea on Tuesday and will continue moving slowly eastwards towards New Zealand in coming days. Strengthening northerly winds between this high and a frontal system near WA will transport relatively mild air over NSW and Victoria for the remainder of the working week, pushing daytime temperatures well above zero. Night time temperatures will also become marginal for snow-making.
The frontal system will cause rain to develop on Saturday as it approaches the resorts from the west. Rain will become moderate to heavy during the day, particularly in northeast Victoria. The rain should tend to snow from Saturday evening into Sunday morning, as colder air moves through.
The most likely outcome is for 15-25mm of rain during Saturday, before 10-20cm of snow falls through the night time hours into Sunday morning.
Skies will tend to clear during Sunday, so there could be some reasonable skiing on the groomed runs. There isn’t currently much in the way of a natural base outside of snow-making areas.
Temperatures look like climbing again on Monday 1st July, as northerly winds redevelop ahead of another cold front. There may be some occasional light showers on this day, possibly falling as sleet or snow about higher elevations.
This next cold front has the potential to bring some natural snow falls on both Tuesday and Wednesday, but there is no great confidence on amounts at this stage given significant divergence between the leading numerical weather prediction models.
Keep an eye on the 7-Day Forecast totals and with any luck these will climb as we get closer to the start of July.
New Zealand – rain risk for early July
Snow conditions are reasonable across the Southern Alps for early in the season, with lower mountain depths of around 15cm and upper mountain depths of 50-60 centimetres. On the North Island, Ruapehu has a limited natural average cover of 10 centimetres.
Weather conditions this week have aided snow-making activities for the Queenstown and Wanaka resorts, with cold and clear nights.
A large, slow-moving high pressure system is currently situated over New Zealand, bringing stable weather conditions. These stable conditions include relatively light winds, mostly clear skies and an absence of precipitation. There will be little change in these conditions until the weekend.
The high will move out to the east of New Zealand on the weekend, which will help a milder and more humid northeasterly airstream to develop across the nation. This will bring an increase in cloud over the weekend, particularly during Sunday. Winds will also increase into Sunday, so Saturday is looking like the pick of the weekend for getting out on the slopes.
Rain is likely early next week, as a cold front collides with the humid and deep northeast airflow. There is the prospect of rain becoming heavy at times between Monday and Wednesday, with the North Island at greatest risk.
At this stage there are no major snow bearing systems on the horizon. But keep an eye on the 7 day forecasts for more.