More snow forecast for Australia and a mixed bag for NZ

Bureau of Meteorology

This week’s snow forecast blog from meteorologist Alex Zadnik is filled with promise for Australia.

The short story is that there will be great weather conditions for the Australian resorts on Saturday and the prospect of a solid boost to the snow base early next week. For New Zealand this week looks cold and crisp and a warming trend over the weekend brings the risk of rain early next week. 

Australia

There was a healthy top up of fresh snow across the resorts late last week and into the weekend as a series of cold fronts swept across southeastern Australia. Accumulated snow totals between Friday and Sunday were generally around 20-30 centimetre mark.

Winds eased and skies cleared in recent days with the approach of a large high pressure system from the west. This pattern will be interrupted on Thursday as a weak low pressure system tracks eastwards across the resorts from its current position near western Victoria (as shown in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology satellite image).

This low will bring colder temperatures and occasional snow showers during Thursday, with a few centimetres possible for Buller, Hotham, Falls, Thredbo and Perisher on this day.

This low will move off towards the Tasman Sea on Friday, which should help skies to clear during the day, particularly for the Victorian resorts. Saturday is looking like an excellent day to hit the mountains in both NSW and Victoria, with lighter winds, clearer skies and below zero temperatures for the most part. The groomed runs will remain the best bet with variable snow conditions off piste.

Winds will increase during Sunday with the approach of a front from the west, but it should still be a reasonable day on the slopes. Snow showers should develop on Monday as this front moves through. Snow totals on this day may reach 5-10 centimetres for the higher resorts in Victoria and New South Wales.

A second stronger front is shaping up for Tuesday, which could deliver a bigger dump upwards of 30 centimetres so  it is worth scheduling a day off for Wednesday.

Victorian resorts should be relatively uncrowded with the school holiday crowd due to depart this Sunday.  

New Zealand

Cold conditions have returned to New Zealand in recent days, after a burst of mild, rainy and windy weather at the end of last week. Chilly conditions are set to stick around all week, although natural snowfalls will be limited.

There was between 10-30 centimetres of fresh snow for the nation’s ski fields between Sunday and Tuesday, so conditions will be nice for skiing and boarding from today through until Friday as a high brings settled conditions and an easing of winds.

Winds look like increasing again during Friday and the weekend, as a deep low pressure system forms over the Tasman Sea. This low will draw milder air and moisture across the North and South Islands over the weekend (as per the Met Office prognosis chart), with rain set to develop for the ski fields from Sunday into Monday.

Rain could become quite heavy over the North Island based on current guidance. The freezing level looks like rising to around 2000 metres for Mt Ruapehu during Sunday and Monday, so the lower slopes of Turoa and Whakapapa might sustain some damage. The higher slopes may see an accumulation of heavy wet snow.

The Queenstown and Wanaka resorts are also likely to see a mix of rain and snow on Monday as the low passes across New Zealand. Therefore conditions won’t be too pleasant for the Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone on this day.

Early indications are that similar conditions will persist through Tuesday and Wednesday, with a mix of rain and more snow, plus mild winds from the north. So make the most of this colder weather and fresh snow this week if you can.

Check out our 7 day detailed forecasts for Australia and New Zealand ski fields here.

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Alex Zadnik is a complete weather nerd and proud of it. A keen skier who chases the powder globally, he is the resident meteorologist for MetraWeather and has an impressive weather pedigree providing commentary for Australia's leading radio and television weather networks and now SnowsBest.com.

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