Forecast Updated: 9:45am 15/04/2014
Season 2013 - Looking back
Thankfully season 2013 is well and truly behind us. One of the worst seasons on record. Things looked positive early with a good snowfall in mid May having resorts thinking of a possible early start. Unfortunately mild temps mixed with rain saw the snow completely dissapear by the start of the season, and this pattern continued into July. The first decent snow didn’t fall til August which was too late for most. Most of the seasons snow fell in a three to four week period from the start of August, but was ruined again by plenty of rain from the end of August through early September. The Spencers Creek depth reading peaked at 185.6cm on August 26th which is close to the average max depth for that particular area, but stats can be misleading as the season was far from average overall.
How things are looking now
Current forecast models suggest we could be moving into an El Nino. This is not yet a certainty but what it would ‘usually’ mean is that we are looking at a season of warmer than average daytime temps with less precipitation. Now this is not all doom and gloom with the positives being that less precipitation means less chance of rain damaging the snow cover, and clear warmer days usually sees more cold clear nights which is good news for snowaking.
Looking back at previous years showing similar patterns and SOI (Southern Oscillation Index) readings what we have seen this year is that we are probably not likely to see a huge maximum snow depth. There have been good el nino years like 1991 and really bad years like 1982, 1993 and 2006. Some of these seasons have had good early snowfalls, others have started late and some never really got off the ground. What we can deduce from this is that there is no real definative answer as to what will happen in 2014. One or two good early falls can set up a season. A decent early run of snowmaking nights without rain following is paramount for early ski and boarding days, and this is probably the real positive for the early outlook.- plenty of cold nights with low humidity.
When will the cold start and first snow fall?
The last month has been warmer than usual in the mountains but things will change very soon with the temps dropping next weekend. We should then see lower temps and the chance of some light dustings of snow as the colder SW changes move further north into the mountains. This should help with ground cooling which is what the snowmakers will need once they get cranking in May. Snow looks likely around the end of April/start of May. At the moment I can’t see any big early dumps on the horizon which isn’t really a problem as we wouldn’t want to waste one so early on. I will be keeping an eye on any changes and will post updates on the long range forecast page. Daily forecasts will start in May.
Pete Taylor (aka The Frog)
(Please note: anyone publishing/copying any of the above material please quote the source as snowatch.com.au)
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