Unusual snow events in Australia

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Australian Capital Territory

In the ranges to the west of Canberra snow is common during winter, with the snow being visible from Canberra after larger falls.

Most years there is at least one snow fall in Canberra, although it usually doesn't settle.

In 1929 and 1965 there were significant snow falls in the centre of Canberra with the snow on the ground being several centimetres in depth.

New South Wales

Mt Sugarloaf - Newcastle

Snow on Mt Sugarloaf

It snowed in 1965 and again in the early 1970's on Mt Sugarloaf which has an elevation of about 350m and is about 20km SW of Newcastle. According to a Newcastle Herald article at the time, snow settled in West Wallsend, which is barely 70m ABSL. Snow for the first time in history settled all around the low lying hills around Maitland, Cessnock and Singleton.

Another image from Mt. Sugarloaf in 1965 can be found here

Central Coast July 1965

july 1965

Snow 6" - the first in area's recorded history, fell on the NSW Central Coast on 18th July, 1965.

Falls were reported across Somersby, Kulnura, and Mangrove Mountain where the approximate altitude above sea level is only 200 to 300 metres. Snow was also reported in other places in the region with remarkably, brief snow falls reported at Terrigal - a location better known for sand and surf rather than snow.

The storm giving rise to this history making winter event, saw minimum temperatures around freezing and go 2.5 degrees farenheit below over a four day period with maximums plumetting when the snow moved in. Strong winds and heavy rain accompanied the storm with up to six (6) inches of snow reported which was enjoyed by many as they travelled to witness the rare event, some even driving up from Sydney. The snow reported for Mt Sugarloaf (above) is likely to indicate the extent of snow falls along the ranges on the central coast.

Some losses also occurred, mainly chickens housed in poultry sheds, and some citrus crops were affected by the weight of the snow. Damage also affected some infrastructure in the area and caravans damaged at Terrigal.

The local press recorded the event, with unique weather forecasts featuring "cold snap to continue, showers and isolated snow falls."

Sydney

Snow in Sydney is extremely rare. Since European settlement, there have been a few cases recorded of blowing snowflakes, but only 4 occurrences of snow on the ground in any real quantity. All these cases occurred during the icy winter of 1836. T.A Browne (better known as Rolf Boldrewood, author of "Robbery Under Arms") kept weather observations during this period and noted that "the years 1836, 1837 and 1838 were years of drought, and in one of these years (1836) a remarkable thing happened. There was a fall of snow; we made snowballs at Enmore and enjoyed the usual schoolboy amusements therewith". The Sydney Herald reported on the same incident headed "A Stranger" "For the first time in the memory of the oldest inhabitants, snow fell in Sydney on the morning of Tuesday last. (27 June 1836) About 7 O’clock in the morning, a drifting fall covered the streets nearly one inch in depth. Some of the "old hands" expressed a hope that their old acquaintances Messrs. Frost and Snow do not intend emigrating to NSW".

(Reference: "Before King’s Cross" - Freda McDowell, Thomas Nelson, 1967 )

There are also a few anecdotal accounts of snow being observed falling on the observation deck of Centrepoint Tower (305m above street level in central Sydney)

Queensland

Stanthorpe and the surrounding regions do occasionally get snow, it will rarely settle, but every few years a more significant dump will occur. It seems 1925 was a good year, not quite as good was 1984 as well as 2005 and 2000

Toowoomba will occasionally get sleet, although given the right wind conditions it feels a lot colder. On the Gold Coast it has been reported that in July 1984 5cm of snow settled on the ground in the Lamington National Park and once again in 2005, although on this occasion the snow only settled on metal surfaces. There has also been reports of snow falling as far north as Mackay.

South Australia

Text

Tasmania

Victoria

In June 2007 Jan Juc (an hour south west of Melbourne and at sea level) received heavy snow which was described in the Geelong Advertiser as a once in 10 year event.

Christmas Day 2006 it snowed in North Dandenong, Melbourne. Elevation only 60 metres above sea level. Footage can be see here

More footage from the southern mountains of Victoria on Christmas Day 2006 can be found here , here and here This was the case with most of the NSW/VIC ranges that day. Very unusual. Mother nature was a tad late that year.

In August 2005 a cold front delivered snow to many parts of southern Victoria. Snow was observed in coastal towns such as Inverloch in southern Gippsland, and most places above 200 metres elevation recorded at least 5 centimetres.

In most winters in Victoria, there is at least one cold front event that delivers snow to around 500 metres. This occurs most often in July or August. In such events, snow may be observed in places such as the Dandenong Ranges (near Melbourne), Ballarat (about 100km west of Melbourne), and the Jeeralang Ranges in Gippsland. In most cases only one or two centimetres fall.

Northern Territory

On rare occasions snow has fallen on Uluru. One such occasion was in July 1997. One commentator has pointed out that snow on Uluru does not feature in any of the long term locals' legends about the place, which suggests that this is an exceptionally rare occurrence.

Western Australia

Snow, as an annual occurance for WA is not as rare as many may think. Data suggests that it typically snows a couple of times per year on average per year. The most common location is on the Stirling Ranges. Specifically, Bluff Knoll which stands at an elevation of 1095 meters above sea level. Snow is typically less than a couple of cm at any given time.

One particular enthusiast has a site dedicated to snow on the Stirling Ranges http://www.feargod.net/wa-snow1a.php

On extremely rare occasions there can be snow down to a couple of hundred meters above sea level in WA. The attached link pin-points the places of reference, however most of which occur happen with 200-300km of the coastline of the SW corner of the state. http://www.feargod.net/wa-snow1.php

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