By Pete ‘The Frog’ Taylor – snowatch.com.au
The weather has gone a bit nuts since the last snow season in Australia. We had an extremely hot and dry Summer that was followed by a very wet and still warm March and early April in the South East of the country. Victoria and Tasmania recorded their warmest March on record.
Now it’s time to look at what’s ahead in regards to our mountains and the chances of early snow. We have already had our first decent fall for the year on Sunday/Monday this week with Falls Creek seeing around 20cm on the ground. Of course this melts away quite fast this time of year but it get’s everyone amped for the coming season as it’s now only around eight weeks away.
In regards to our coming weather we usually take a look at the SOI (Southern Oscillation Index), the ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) and sea surface temperatures. From what we currently have it looks like we should move into an El Niño pattern towards the end of our Winter. El Niño is usually associated with below average winter/spring rainfall and warmer than average winter/spring maximum temperatures in the SE of Australia. Of the 27 El Niño events since 1900, 18 have resulted in widespread dry conditions for Australia. I don’t see this as a need to panic as we should be well into the snow season before this pattern settles in, although it may mean a quicker end to the season with an early emergence of the blocking high pressure systems. The start of the season we should stay neutral ENSO so it’s not all bad. We have had some very good seasons during these patterns and the longer it stays neutral the better for snow.
Looking at the current charts I don’t see any more dumps over the next four weeks, not that this really matters as it wouldn’t stay on the ground long anyway. What we need is for the nights to cool mid May so the snow makers can get going and build an early base. I’ll update this outlook again in a couple of weeks with more of an outlook to the chances of snow falling in the lead up to the opening weekend.
In a nutshell
If you are after a quote as to what the season has in stall, let me just say that overall it looks like an average season snow depth wise with the usual slow start but unfortunately a quicker end to the season as we move into El Nino. Late July/early August looks like being the best of it (as it is most seasons).
Pete ‘The Frog’ Taylor
Daily snow forecast updates will start on May 1st snowatch.com.au