UPDATED: Snow Forecast – Thu 14th June 2012

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Falls Creek Webcam Wed 13th June 2012
Falls Creek Webcam Wed 13th June 2012

UPDATE: 6pm Sat 16th June:

The last few days have been funny in the snow forecast corner of the Internet.

It’s early season and we’re all keen. Dead keen. Weather was clearly incoming for this weekend, and man didn’t we know about it!

But the funny thing is that this system is marginal at best and all the forecasting outlets were responsible in conveying that. Jane, Weatherzone, The Frog, BOM etc were all in agreeance – light snow, only up high.

Yet every snow enthusiast with a Facebook page jumped on the absolute upside of the most optimistic forecast and went berserk – it was mainly the snow totals from Jane’s Weather that people quoted – paying no regard to the snow levels, of which 80% of Victorian skiing happened to dwell below. It was pretty funny. I think the best was an iPhone screen grab of a Weather app that showed ‘Snowflakes Icon’ for today with a temperature range of 2-4 degrees. Much of what I learned at University would tell you that it’s impossible.

BUT IT HAD A SNOWFLAKE ICON GODDAMMIT! TO HELL WITH THE LAWS OF PHYSICS!!

Anyway it looks like there was a dribble around the traps today, the trough that Jane’s Weather was mentioning didn’t seem to push far south enough according to The Weather Chase Composite Radar, and the Weather Nerds were using the dreaded ‘F’ word – Fizzer. Another front coming through on Monday could deliver a few cm but it looks minor at best.

All the while I was wondering if I was a misery-guts for not joining in the chorus – if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that shouting about snowfall brings website hits, but I also think it’s my responsibility to bring a measured tone to things. Don’t get me wrong, if it looks like a ripper I will be on the bandwagon as much as anything, but I just couldn’t see the reality behind the hype this week.

Which brings us to next week. At this stage it looks like a good quality low pressure system will roll in around Friday / Saturday – Jane’s Weather has made the early call of 20-30cm, while the Weather Nerds are cautiously on board and riding the bumps that come with each update of the computer models.

I tend to be less speculative so I will wait until Mon or Tues to get a real handle on the situation but at this early stage it looks like this one may be worth of a little bit of hype.

So that’s my Saturday evening rant over for now. I think I need a glass of red.

Productive day at Costco buying up all the supplies for the lodge, really hoping next weekend is the start of a string of good ski weekends all the way until October.

Thanks to the guys who posted Instagram pics from Buller & Perisher today – they are on http//aussieskier.com/social/ – keep them rolling in!

UPDATE: 3:30pm Thu 14th June:

A quick look at the webcams is showing the conditions aren’t exactly ideal today. Temperatures are above zero at all Vic resorts and the radar shows incoming precipitation.

Jane’s Weather has downgraded her snow totals ever so slightly but again it’s the altitudes that tell the story, starting at 1700m, lowering to 1500 by Sunday and then lower again on Mon/Tues which is good news.

With The Frog and Weatherzone in rough agreeance but less optimistic on the snow totals.

Just for reference, the highest lifted points at Buller & Falls are almost identical at approx 1780m with Hotham 80m higher at 1860m, so I think overall we can expect modest snow totals at the upper levels of most resorts but can’t guarantee snow down to the bottom lifts, except perhaps on Monday night into Tuesday but hoping the precipitation hasn’t dried up by then.

Again there is talk of a stronger system late next week but we will let that approach before discussing the specifics.

Originally posted 11:45am Wed 13th June:

Leaving Buller on Monday the forecast for the end of the week was for rain and we left wondering how our little ‘brazillian’ strip of snow would cope, the consensus was that it wouldn’t be pretty and we would reconvene again once snow had fallen.

Once again the dreaded inversion has hampered snowmaking, yesterday was the coldest morning so far this year in Melbourne but temperatures wavered around zero or above at all the Vic resorts thanks to an upside-down atmosphere.

Falls Creek Webcam Wed 13th June 2012
Falls Creek Webcam Wed 13th June 2012

However since yesterday the forecasts for this weekend have improved somewhat and I see a number of Facebook posts this morning proclaiming decent snowfall for the weekend.

That would be a very welcome outcome indeed but I still feel that the calls could be a shade premature due to the marginal temperatures and therefore snow levels.

This is the precis from Jane’s Weather:

It is dry until Thursday afternoon with a high to our southeast.

A cold front crosses Victoria tomorrow, driven by a deep low over the Bight. A trough or low should cross NSW on Saturday, then another cold front moves through on Sunday, with that deep low passing near Tasmania.

Freeze levels are warm now. They should drop to about 1700 metres on Thursday night, then lower to 1500 metres for Saturday. Sunday and Monday are cold and may see snow falling throughout the alpine.

How much…

5 to 10 cm up high for the Thursday/Friday cold front.

Saturday’s trough may bring only a few cm, but could be 10 to 15 cm (if it comes near enough).

5 to 10 cm from the Sunday/Monday cold front.

However when you scroll down a little further you see that the snowlines being quoted in the 1500-1700m range which dampens the enthusiasm somewhat – for reference the altitudes at Vic resorts are in the 1400m-1800m range so it looks like NSW could be the main beneficiary. Weatherzone has a similar outlook on the snow levels but has forecasted lower snow totals, with The Frog/Snowatch in agreement. The Weather Nerds are also calling for modest snow amounts of 10-15cm again at higher elevations.

So I think at this stage it’s welcome that we are set to receive some snowfalls at higher elevations, but at the same time it’s prudent to reserve the extreme optimism until mid-next week when all indications are that we will receive a far stronger cold front. This one has The Weather Nerds far more excited, and personally I’m looking forward to a system where the cold temperatures and moisture are contained together in a ‘traditional’ winter pattern instead of wishing for tropical moisture to magically combine with a wandering pool of cold air. Jane’s Weather also mentions “Signs of a big, strong, cold low late in the week.” while The Frog’s 8-14 day forecast has picked it up and is quoting 1100m-1200m snow levels which is great.

So we have two weather events to keep an eye on over the next ten or so days, which you can keep an eye on with the tools linked in my ‘How to track a Snow Storm‘ post

I won’t be skiing this weekend but will be up every weekend henceforth. Your Hotham blogger has been flat out with the resort opening but has mentioned that they will get a report up this afternoon so keep an eye out for that.

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