The last weekly snow forecast blog of the season, sob

Hotham
Hotham spring time.

Where did the season go? It seems like only a snow storm ago that we welcomed meteorologist Alex Zadnik as our regular snow forecaster and now, it’s time to say goodbye until June. We love you Alex, but the season is almost over.

Lucky for you that you’ll still be able to access your favourite Australia and New Zealand resort seven day forecasts here. 

Alex’s short summary for the weekend ahead? Fresh snow and improving weather conditions for the long weekend in Australia and a great end to the working week in New Zealand with fresh snow, cold temperatures and easing winds.

Australia

The Australian 2018 season is drawing to a close, with this being the final weekend for Thredbo, Charlotte Pass and Baw Baw.

Hotham, Falls Creek and Perisher will still be operating lifts through until 7th October given the healthy snow base.

Snow depths were still above 130 centimetres at Falls Creek and Mount Hotham on Wednesday morning, while the Spencers Creek snow gauge in New South Wales was still around 170. Snowmaking areas at Mt Buller were still above 140 centimetres, while the natural snow depth is down to around 90 centimetres. Mt Baw Baw is hanging in to the end of spring with a natural base of 28 centimetres on Wednesday morning, with four out of seven lifts running.

There was a small top up of fresh snow for Hotham, Falls, Thredbo and Perisher on Tuesday evening, with reports of 1-5 centimetres across these resorts. This was brought by a cold and unstable southeasterly airflow, which is now dissapting with the approach of a high pressure centre. Skies should clear for the Victorian resorts on Wednesday but New South Wales resorts may see some lingering cloud.

The high should bring mostly sunny conditions to the Victorian and New South Wales resorts on Thursday, while northwest winds will strength into the afternoon due to the approach of a cold front from the Bight. Temperatures will also rise well above zero through the day, so the morning is likely to be the best time for some firmer turns on the groomed runs.

Cloud will increase through Friday as the front edges closer and some light rain showers are possible during the day. These should tend to snow during Friday night and continue into Saturday as the coldest part of the post-frontal airmass moves through. Around 1-5 centimetres of fresh snow is likely for the Victorian and New South Wales resorts between Friday night and Saturday morning, but a little more is possible about the higher peaks and on the southern side of the Dividing Range at Baw Baw.

Sunday is looking like a perfect day for spring skiing, with clearing skies and a light cover of fresh snow. Winds should also be light as a high pressure system becomes established over southeastern Australia. There will be little change in the weather pattern for Monday, with the high bringing light winds and mostly sunny skies.

There is some disagreement in the leading weather prediction models for the first few days of October but winds will probably increase through this period with the approach of a frontal system from the west.

It’s a bit hard to say at this range as to what will eventuate with this next front in terms of precipitation, so keep an eye on the 7-day Snowsbest.com accumulated snow totals as we move closer to this date. Either way, it looks like it’s worth making the most of this Grand

Final weekend, given some fresh snow on Saturday and clearing skies for Sunday and Monday.

New Zealand

The South Island’s spring surge has continued this week, with another Antarctic blast delivering fresh snow to Cardrona, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables in recent days. The highest reported total was 25 centimetres at Cardrona, while the Remarkables picked up 15 centimetres and Coronet had 10 centimetres. Further north, Mount Hutt received 7 centimetres. On the North Island, Ruapehu picked up 15 centimetres during Tuesday and is expected further snowfalls through Wednesday.

Strong southwest winds in the wake of the snow bearing frontal system were causing some issues on Wednesday morning, with Cardrona and Turoa both closed for the day. Whakapapa only had Happy Valley open with all other lifts closed.

Winds should ease into Thursday with the approach of a high pressure system from the west, so it would be anticipated that normal operations would resume at Cardrona and Ruapehu, but double check their respective reports in the morning. Temperatures will remain well below zero on Thursday, so it should be a good day for skiing and boarding given the fresh spring snow.

Friday should see cold conditions persist across New Zealand for most of the day, although a warming trend is possible for the Southern Alps in the afternoon as northwest winds strengthen with the approach of a cold front.

This front is likely to maintain strong winds through Saturday as it draws closer to the South Island, while some rain is possible around Cardrona, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables. Therefore it’s not looking like the most pleasant day for skiing and boarding at these ski fields and there may be some lifts on wind hold. Winds shouldn’t be quite as strong at Ruapehu on the North Island and it should remain mostly dry there on Saturday.

Rain should tend to snow across Cardrona, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables later on Saturday and into Sunday morning as temperatures drop in the wake of the front. The snow level will probably get down to around 1500-1600m, so some healthy snow accumulations are possible on the higher slopes.

There is however the risk of heavy rain at times on the lower slopes.

This could swing either way depending on how this dynamic frontal system evolves. Ruapehu on the North Island may also pick up a mix of rain and snow on Sunday as the front draws closer, while winds may be strong at times. Therefore for those on the North Island, Saturday is looking like the better day.

For the first week of October it looks like there will be a return to colder conditions for the South Island with the arrival of another front from the Southern Ocean.

A deepening low pressure trough to the north of the North Island may bring some rain and stronger winds to Ruapehu early to mid next week as it drifts south. Therefore it’s probably worth making the most of the current fresh snow at Ruapehu.

South Island skiers and boarders should also make the most of this week before the arrival of inclement weather on the weekend.

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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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