It’s that time again when all eyes are on the skies and forecastors are madly going over charts and data from past years as well as the current weather patterns, to somehow come out with what they think will happen leading into Season 2016 . When will the first snow fall? When will the first snow stay on the ground more than a day or two? and when will the snowmakers get into full swing? I’ve tried to break it all down and keep it as simple as I can.
Where are we now?
Last year we were in a full blown El Nino pattern. Over the last couple of months El Nino has been weakening and it looks like later this year we will move into an La Nina pattern. But as far as things go at the moment the early part of the season looks like we will be sitting in a neutral ENSO state (El Nino Southern Oscillation)
What’s the early outlook?
We are likely to see warmer than average night-time temperatures over the May to June period which will decrease the chances of snowmaking. This could even creep into early July. This is largely due to record warm temps in the Indian Ocean and warmer than average sea surface temps around the country, which should provide extra moisture across the South East of the country including the mountains. This is not to say we won’t get any snowmaking but it’s not likely to happen over long periods. The likelyhood of a decent cover during June is quite low. We should see some light falls but without decent early snowfalls and limited snowmaking, we may struggle to get much of a cover before the July school holidays.
It’s not all bad…
When comparing ENSO periods with El Nino and La Nina there is no set pattern with ENSO. We have had our best seasons like ‘81 and ’92 but we have also had some shockers. I am leaning towards good snowfalls from mid July and a rather late season with August and September bringing the biggest snowfalls. With such a late season we could be skiing and boarding right up to the closing weekend (and not just at Perisher like previous years).
The good news…
As we move into mid to late July and we get closer to a La Nina pattern and we should see above average rainfall start to mix in with cooler temps. This is when we should start to see more consistent snow bearing systems on the charts. August should be one of our better ones for some time and finally a decent snowy September, which rarely happens.
The next month…
The temps in the mountains are still quite warm and this is likely to continue for a while yet during the day. There should be a slight cooling at night from around the 7th of May. With the high pressure systems sitting around the south of the continent (which is normal for this time of year), we might have a wait on our hands for anything decent. There is a chance a system due around the 17th-18th of May could bring a light dusting up top but nothing to get too excited about. If anyone really wants me to stick my neck out for a snowfall call then maybe the last few days of May could see some white stuff falling, but it could quite easily slide south of the mountains.
A slow start, building later July to a good August and September. Looks like we need to pray to the snow gods to send us a June dump to keep things going til the weather patterns change.
Pete (aka The Frog) Taylor
If publishing any of the above forecast outlook please quote Snowatch.com.au at the source.