This week’s snow outlook for Australia and New Zealand

Victorian alps. Photo credit: Camille Niel/Shutterstock

He’s back. SnowsBest resident meteorologist, Alex Zadnik, returns with his weekly snow outlook for the seven days ahead for both sides of the ditch.

Australian outlook

Cold nights and mostly clear days for the remainder of this week. A dynamic weather pattern may bring snow next week.

It has been a lean season for the Australian ski resorts for natural snowfall, apart from one major dump for the NSW resorts earlier in July. The past week has seen rain degrade the snow base across NSW, while the cover at Buller and Baw Baw is generally only in snow making areas. The snow depth at Spencers Creek in NSW was at 84cm as of 23rd July, making it one of the lowest in recent years for this point of the season.

The reason for the lack of natural snow this year has been a persistent high pressure anomaly over Victoria and inland NSW, which inhibits snow bearing fronts from reaching this part of the continent. The high pressure belt is also significantly further south than would be expected in July, which is also keeping the polar front well to the south of the Australian mainland.

There have been a number of seasons in the past 10 years that have seen significant August snowfall and excellent conditions, so there is still hope on the horizon.

For the next four days (Thursday 29th July through to Sunday 2nd August), a large high pressure system will provide settled conditions with mild days and cold nights. Minimum temperatures will drop well below zero and winds should generally be light to moderate, creating ideal snowmaking conditions.

Mostly sunny conditions are expected on Thursday and Friday. High cloud may increase a little over the weekend but visibility should be good for the most part.

Through next week there is the potential for a low pressure system to bring a few days of significant snowfall, starting from around Tuesday 4th or Wednesday 5th August. However, there is no consensus between the global weather prediction models on this dynamic situation, so this remains speculative with a low level of confidence.

Keep an eye on the SnowsBest 7-day forecast totals over the weekend, by which time the models should start to resolve this situation more accurately. Keep your calendar free though for the weekend of 8-9th August, in case the more favourable scenario unfolds.

New Zealand Outlook

Windy, warm and wet in NZ. Improving prospects for next week.

New Zealand’s ski fields have been fairing better than their Australian counterparts this season. Snow depths are around 40cm on lower slopes to over 100cm on the upper slopes for most South Island and North Island ski fields.

The weather outlook for the week ahead is generally poor for New Zealand’s ski fields, with a strong and moisture-laden northeast airflow bringing above zero temperatures and periods of rainfall.

An almost stationary high pressure system to the east of New Zealand and an approaching low pressure system from the Tasman will deliver similar conditions from Wednesday evening (29th July) through until early next week (Monday 3rd August). The strong winds and rain periods will also reduce visibility at times, so do check the latest MetService warnings before venturing out.

Despite this bleak short term outlook, there is the prospect of a much more favourable snow bearing weather pattern forming through the middle part of next week (and beyond).

There is still a large degree of uncertainty on this, but there is the potential for a sustained period of cold conditions and frequent snowfalls starting around Wednesday 5th August. Check back next week for an update on this and keep an eye on the SnowsBest 7-day forecast totals in coming days.


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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.