1939 August 10th widespread snowfall: "probably the heaviest since August 13. 1932".

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"The falls are probably the heaviest since August 13. 1932, when snow fell in the Mount Lofty Ranges and northern highlands had their heaviest falls for 13 years, the Divisional Meteorologist (Mr. Bromley) said."

I haven't searched the 1930s decade for snowfalls but I did do a quick and by no means complete search only in the Advertiser on Trove for big falls and found this one in August 1939. A bonus was the snowtrail comment by Mr Bromley above that gives us an authorative assessment of the size of this fall in comparison to falls earlier in the decade. I haven't searched for other newspaper articles referring to this snowfall but doutless there are some in the Trove database.

Snowtrails from the article below.

Here are the "snowtrail" comments or observations in this article. Snowtrails in this context are views or opinions comparing a snowfall to a past snowfall. Although they are rarely accompanied by supporting evidence, and we readers are left contemplating how reliable they may be, such comments and observations and opinions in articles on snowfalls are useful and sometimes quite valuable, and I rather lament that a lot more of these kinds of comparisons made by observers in the field, meteorologists in the office, and writers of newspaper articles, didn't find their way into newspaper articles over the years.

So here are five snowtrails I found in the Advertiser article below.

"SNOW IN MANY PLACES IN S.A. Heaviest For Many Years" (no source given)

"The fall was more widespread than any other in the past five years" (no source given)

"The falls are probably the heaviest since August 13. 1932, when snow fell in the Mount Lofty Ranges and northern highlands had their heaviest falls for 13 years, the Divisional Meteorologist (Mr. Bromley) said. The snow that year was about four inches deep"

"It was the first heavy fall at Peterborough for 12 years" (no source given)

"there was great excitement in Appila at the first snowfall for many years" (no source given)

Meteorological causes of this snowfall.

Below is a Weather Bureau weather map (surface chart) published in the News newspaper on 10th August 1939. I don't see any date on the map but the accompanying text says "this morning's chart shows little change ..." so it's very likely to be the Thursday 10th daily morning weather map issued to the News by the Bureau, and published on the same day in the afternoon or evening.

The text also mentions snow, reading (roughly corrected) "... further general rain has been recorded south of Copley. with hail in parts. and snow at many stations on the northern highlands" which strengthens the likelihood that the map was issued on snowday Thursday 10th.

Looking at the map it seems to me that the primary cause of the snowfall was likely a very cold airmass flowing from (probably) deep in the Southern Ocean up over southern South Australia. More details such as cold front(s) and upper atmosphere temperatures and pressures were only seen in dreams in those days.



News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954) Thursday 10 August 1939 p 14.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/131921860

Further Showers Likely
This morning's chart shows little change in the general pressure distribution. With the persistence of the energetic eastern disturbance. centred over southern New Zealand. and a moderate high pressure in the west. cold southerly winds continue to blow across South Australia. As a result. further general rain has been recorded south of Copley. with hail in parts. and snow at many stations on the northern highlands.

Article identifier http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article131921860

Page identifier http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page11356381

APA citation Further Showers Likely (1939, August 10). News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved April 1, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article131921860

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Now to the Advertiser article.

Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), Friday 11 August 1939, page 23.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/41083191

{quoting the entire article}

SNOW IN MANY PLACES IN S.A.
Heaviest For Many Years
RARE SPORT IN NORTHERN TOWNS
Children In Pyjamas Pelt Each Other

Snow fell early yesterday at Mount Lofty and on northern highlands of South Australia, and many people in outlying districts in the north woke to find surrounding country carpeted, and shrubs and trees mantled in glistening white.

The fall was more widespread than any other in the past five years. In many districts snow lay inches deep on level ground, and on mountain tops and in gullies the depth had to be measured in feet. In a number of northern districts where the falls were heaviest snowmen were made and people enjoyed the novelty of snowballing. Some of the children rushed outside with overcoats over their pyjamas in their eagerness to pelt each other.

When Mount Lofty residents arose early in the morning, there was a carpet of snow over the area behind the obelisk and two or three inches of snow on the kiosk roof. In perfect snow conditions, with no wind and occasional showers, falls occurred intermittently during the day. However, the snow melted as soon as it touched the ground, and those who left the city in cars expecting to see Mount Lofty covered In a mantle of white were disappointed, unless their stay coincided with one of the falls. The only sign of the previous night's visitation was a pile of snow behind the kiosk. Many people carried back handfuls wrapped in paper.

The maximum temperature In Adelaide was 50.9, no colder than it has been on at least three other days this year, but at Stirling the maximum was only 44 degrees, and Yongala, where snow fell, had its coldest day on record, with a maximum reading of 40.9

The falls are probably the heaviest since August 13. 1932, when snow fell in the Mount Lofty Ranges and northern highlands had their heaviest falls for 13 years, the Divisional Meteorologist (Mr. Bromley) said. The snow that year was about four inches deep

Mr. Bromley said that the present cold snap could not be connected with the record hot spell last summer. It was merely a coincidence that South Australia should experience a heavy snow fall this winter. Apart from a few cold frosty mornings, this winter had not been severe. In fact it had been somewhat milder than usual.

Sports At Peterborough

Peterborough children had a thrilling time early in the morning when the snow lay about three inches thick everywhere. About 20 snowmen were made at Peterborough west. Tripney avenue, and in the south and north of the town. Scores of children forgot the extreme cold in the excitement of seeing snow for the first time, and, putting on overcoats over their pyjamas, ran out to pelt each other with snowballs. It was the first heavy fall at Peterborough for 12 years.

A man standing at a crossing, waiting for the train from Yongala to pass, received a bucket of snow on his head. Members of the Peterborough dance band, returning from a ball at Orroroo, drove home through the snow-storm, the glare forcing them to drive without headlights. They were probably the first to have a snow fight, as they exchanged snowballs to get warm before going to bed about 3.45 a.m. School children had fights on their way to school, but the last of the snowmen were disappearing when they went home to lunch. Hail fell about mid-day.

Feet Deep At Mount Remarkable

Mount Remarkable was covered, and in places the snow was between four and five feet deep. It fell only lightly in Melrose, but one or two Melrose boys brought snow from the foot of the mountain.

The younger fry at Yongala braved the intense cold, and exchanged snow balls before the snow was washed away by rain. Early risers found a cloak of snow over everything when they woke, and the Mannanarie hills, west of the town, were still snow-capped at noon. Some Yongala residents expected further falls last night.

Snow fell for only half an hour at Terowie, beginning about 6 a.m., but there were heavy falls at outlying farms, where snowmen were bombarded with snowballs.

As far as the eye could see from Whyte-Yarcowie a blanket of snow, three inches thick, lay on the ground. From 6 a.m. until 8.30 a.m. when it melted, children revelled in it, and there was still snow on Canowie Belt at 1 p.m.

From Appila the snow-capped Flinders Ranges presented a beautiful sight. The Appila North hills were covered, and there was great excitement in Appila at the first snowfall for many years. Most of the snow, which fell in the township during the night hours, had melted by 7 a.m.

Snow falls were also reported from Eurelia, Jamestown. Mintaro. Mount Bryan. Hallett. and Kooringa.

Article identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41083191
Page identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page2605635
APA citation
SNOW IN MANY PLACES IN S.A. (1939, August 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 23. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41083191 

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End of report.

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