7 day outlook: big snow for NZ, sunny days ahead for Oz

coronet peak
Coronet Peak early this morning.

Ullr giveth and Ullr taketh away. The tables have turned this week on both sides of the ditch as New Zealand welcomes the season changing (or rather starting) blizzards across the South Island. It’s game on for the kiwis, finally. Phew.

Australia has a chance of big snow but not until the second half of next week, so watch this space. In the meantime the dry spell continues since the last big storm two weeks ago. 

We’ll leave our meteorologist, Alex Zadnik, to talk technicals in his weekly outlook below. Over to you Mr Zadnik.

Australia sunny days ahead

July was warmer than average across southeastern Australia, both in terms of minimum and maximum temperatures. Sydney will record its second warmest July on record in terms of average daytime temperature (19.8C versus the long term average of 16.4C), while Melbourne’s average minimum temperature will fall just short of the 8.4C record.

It was a similar story in the mountains. Minimum and maximum temperatures were both more than a degree above average at Thredbo Top Station and Charlotte Pass, while Victorian resorts saw temperatures that were around half a degree above the long-term monthly average. 

We saw a return to colder conditions through the mountains last night, with a high pressure system creating clear skies and light winds. This high will remain anchored to the west of the ski resorts for the next few days, limiting the prospect of any fresh snowfalls.

Sunny skies are expected on Thursday after another cold morning. Snow making activities should be in full swing through Wednesday night and Thursday morning. 

A temporary increase in cloud and wind is possible from late Friday into Saturday, as a cold front passes to the south of the continent and out over the Tasman Sea. This system is not expected to bring fresh snow, although a few flakes cannot be ruled out.

A return to mostly sunny skies and lighter winds is expected on Sunday as the high becomes re-established in the wake of the front. 

Winds should begin to strengthen during Monday with the approach of a second cold front from the west. This front may deliver a small top up of fresh snow during Tuesday afternoon and evening but probably only a few centimetres.

The second half of next week is starting to show some potential for bigger snowfalls, but it is too early to be sure of how this will pan out.

However it’s probably worth keeping the weekend of 10-11th August free, given there is a reasonable chance of a decent dump in the days prior.  

Full 7 day snow forecast details for Australia resorts.

It’s finally game on in New Zealand 

It’s going to be a big week for fresh snow across New Zealand’s ski fields, with a favourable winter-weather pattern setting up across the nation. 

A low pressure system is crossing New Zealand today and will bring significant snow falls to all areas. The Wanaka and Queenstown ski fields should see 10-20cm of fresh snow, while Mt Hutt and Ruapehu should accumulate more than 40cm.

There will be a temporary easing of snowfalls on Thursday.

Then a powerful cold front sweeps through on Friday.

This time the Wanaka and Queentown ski fields (including Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables) should see the biggest totals, with the potential for widespread 30-40cm falls and 10-20cm is possible at Ruapehu and Mt Hutt. 

A third snow-bearing weather system will sweep across New Zealand during Saturday afternoon and Sunday. The airmass behind this front will be extremely cold, so fresh powder should blanket the resorts.

The South Island will see snow falls to very low levels on Sunday, including Queenstown at 300 metres above sea level. Strong southwest winds may reach gale-force at times on Sunday, so you’ll want your warmest gear and best goggles on if you venture out.

Snow showers and strong winds will gradually ease on Monday, so this may be the best day to hit the slopes, especially with 50-100cm of fresh snow underfoot from the falls of the previous five days. 

Full 7 day snow forecast details for New Zealand resorts.

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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.