7 day outlook: MORE snow on the way for Australia and NZ

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Sunday, August 11. Photo credit: Perisher

Meteorologists and storm chasers live for the kind of week we’ve just had in Australia’s Snowy Mountains. Big snowfalls, mammoth winds, bigger snowfalls, and multi cold fronts converging one after the other.

Let’s just say our own Alex Zadnik was a happy man. Especially as he got himself some powder turns at Hotham.

He remains on a high with this week’s outlook for the next seven days. Why? Because, there’s more of the same, or at least more snow. 

Here’s his weekly seven day outlook for this week below.

Australia – ground hog day, more snow ahead

It was a remarkable week for skiers and boarders in Australia, with a metre plus falling across most resorts between Wednesday and Sunday.

Settled weather persisted through the mountains early this week, while the temperature started to edge up a little, particularly on the sunnier north-facing slopes. Similar conditions are expected today, Wednesday, with mostly sunny skies and moderate winds. 

Winds will pick up in strength during Thursday and cloud will increase later in the day with the approach of a cold front from the west. The morning should still be great though. 

This cold front will weaken as it crosses southeastern Australia on Friday, but generate some light to moderate precipitation as it moves through. Snow is possible on the higher peaks but it’s probably going to be a little wet on the lower slopes. 

Saturday should be a nice day for skiing and boarding in New South Wales and Victoria, particularly on the groomed runs. Visibility should be good for the most part although there might be some early fog in the valleys. Winds may start to strengthen late in the day, as a strong cold front over South Australia pushes eastwards.

Sunday doesn’t look like an overly appealing day to be on the slopes, with gale-force northwest winds and deteriorating visibility as the front moves through. The good news is that this front will bring another healthy top up of snow to most resorts through Sunday afternoon and night, except perhaps Baw Baw on the southern side of the range. 

By Monday morning there should be around 15-30cm of fresh snow.

Winds will still be fairly strong out of the west on Monday, and it will be cold, so occasional snow flurries should continue. Visibility may still be a challenge at times but it looks like being a good day if you have all the right gear for the conditions.

Tuesday will be more pleasant as winds backoff and the snowfalls ease. Visibility should improve as a result, so this looks like a good day for skiers and boarders. Another burst of fresh snow looks like occurring from Tuesday night into Wednesday, adding to our impressive August totals.

Strong winds are likely on Wednesday but may ease later next week with a high pressure system expected to move in towards the weekend. 

Check out 7 day detailed forecasts here.

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New Zealand – good times ahead

It’s been a challenging week of weather in New Zealand, particularly across the North Island. The upper slopes of Turoa and Whakapapa were closed on Wednesday due to strong winds in the wake of a strong cold front. This front brought a small top up of fresh snow to most New Zealand ski fields through Tuesday afternoon and night, with The Remarkables doing the best with 10cm. 

Cold and strong southwest winds will gradually ease through today (Wednesday), so conditions should improve for skiing and boarding on the South Island during the afternoon.

A high pressure system will move over the North Island on Thursday, bringing lighter winds and an improvement in visibility to Ruapehu. Fresh westerly winds will continue for the Queenstown and Wanaka ski fields as front approaches from the west. It should still be a decent day for skiing though at The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone, with reasonable visibility. 

Winds will strengthen across New Zealand on Friday with the approach of a frontal system from the southwest, so visibility will deteriorate on this day.

Substantial snowfalls should spread northwards across New Zealand’s ski fields through Friday evening and Saturday, with most resorts picking up at least 10-20cm through this period.

Locally heavier falls are possible though, depending on how the frontal system evolves. A low pressure system may form near the North Island from late Saturday into Sunday, which has the potential to bring more than 50cm to Turuo and Whakapapa (gale-force winds are a risk through this period, so white-out blizzard conditions may occur).

Weather conditions should ease for the southern half of the South Island on Sunday as a high pressure system moves in, so this looks like a great day to hit the ski fields around Queenstown and Wanaka. 

Monday should offer a brief window of calmer weather to hit the slopes on both the North and South Island, although stronger winds may arrive late in the day for the Queenstown and Wanaka ski areas with the approach of a cold front from the west. 

This front has the potential to bring significant snow to New Zealand’s ski fields through Tuesday and Wednesday.

This may be followed by a secondary system later next week but it’s a little too early to be sure of how this will unfold. Overall through the outlook is positive for a significant boost to the snow base. 

Check out 7 day detailed forecasts here.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.