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1948 August 23rd widespread snowfall in Mid-North.

Was this fall the heaviest in the state's history over the Mid-North?

The reported snow fell during Monday morning 23rd August. Some time later that day, the News newspaper published an article on the fall, headed:
"RECORD SNOWFALL OVER BIG AREA OF S.A.
Snow fell over an area of 1,500 square miles of mid-northern country this morning in the heaviest snowfall in the State's history."
No sources were given for this rather sweeping claim.

On Tuesday 24th the Advertiser newspaper published an article on the fall, headed:

"SNOW OVER BIG AREA
Heaviest In S.A. History
Accompanied by a severe cold snap, the heaviest general snowfall in SA history occurred over a large part of the mid-north on Sunday night and yesterday morning."
No sources were given for this claim.

Based on the evidence I've seen I don't think it went even close to being as heavy as the epic snow event on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July 1901, or the August 29th 1905 blockbuster snow event. There were other heavy snowfalls before this 1948 one in what we now know as the Mid-North too.

Meteorological causes of this snowfall.

Quoting an article in the Advertiser published on Tuesday 24th (posted in full further down this page): "the Deputy Director of Meteorological Services reported last night [Monday 23rd - Miles]:—With a fresh inflow of southern maritime air which had its origin south of Lat. 45 degrees, squally conditions prevailed over South Australia during the week-end. This stream was very unstable, and with the passage of several minor fronts in the stream, thunderstorms and hail were reported from many places, while snow fell along the ranges in the northern agricultural districts. Rainfall was general over the settled areas and scattered in the interior in the 48 hours ended 830 a.m. Monday, with best falls being 131 points at Peterborough and 122 points at Urairila. ... The ridge from the anticyclone centred in Western Australia now extends right across the continent to Townsville in Queensland. An extensive area of low pressure is centred in the south Tasman Sea and still covers most of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

Below is a Weather Bureau weather map (surface chart) which was likely issued on Monday morning 23rd snow day (there's further discussion about this chart here weather map).



Rather mysteriously I was not able to find any reports of snow falling in the southern or central Mt Lofty Ranges. A likely time for snow showers to fall in these southern and central ranges was during Sunday night and Monday morning. Perhaps some fell there but it melted before daylight. Or maybe it didn't fall there. It does suggest though that if any did fall, it wasn't anywhere near as substantial as the fall reported from the Mid-North. The meteorological reasons why widespread snow fell on what we now call the Mid-North and none was reported in the southern and central Mt Lofty Ranges may never be determined.

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Here are the most relevant articles I found in the South Australian newspapers in the database on Trove.

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954) Monday 23 August 1948 Page 1.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129901177

{quoting entire article}

"RECORD SNOWFALL OVER BIG AREA OF S.A.

Snow fell over an area of 1,500 square miles of mid-northern country this morning in the heaviest snowfall in the State's history.

Falls were general, although varying in intensity, from Peterborough down to Sevenhill, below Clare, a distance of 80 miles. The Peterborough fall was the heaviest for 20 years. An interruption to trunk line telephone services was caused by high winds breaking two lines between Peterborough and Terowie. Messrs. Albert Zimmerman, of Hindmarsh, and R. G. Cornish, of Rosewater, returning from Broken Hill, said they ran into heavy snow just after passing through Whyte Yarcowie at 5 a.m. From there until they were almost at Burra, 30 miles farther on, snow fell continuously Heavy Burra fall "We had to stop driving and get out of the truck three times to brush snow away from the windscreen," said Mr. Zimmerman. "It piled on top of the truck canopy and fell off at intervals in big lumps. "When we got out the snow was about 9 in. deep." In Burra snow began falling at 1 a.m., and did not stop until 7 a.m. It was the town's heaviest fall since 1939. The whole town was snow-covered, with a 3-in. carpet in the streets Hills outside Burra were still covered at noon, when it was very cold. Local residents anticipated further falls Train passengers from Spalding first saw snow when they reached Sevenhill, below Clare. Snow began to fall at 1.15 a.m. at Terowie, and continued until about 6 a.m., when there was between 4 in. and 6 in. over the area. Mount Constable C. Edwards said schoolchildren have had a good time. The Yarcowie Hills were like an Arctic scene At Hallett and Whyte-Yarcowie falls were reported to be heaviest for at least 30 years. It was up to 12 in. on the range three miles west of Whyte-Yarcowie and late this afternoon the hills were still covered."

Article identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129901177
Page identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page11120575
APA citation
RECORD SNOWFALL OVER BIG AREA OF S.A. (1948, August 23). News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 1, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129901177

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Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), Tuesday 24 August 1948, page 1.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/43780057

{quoting entire article}

SNOW OVER BIG AREA

Heaviest In S.A. History

Accompanied by a severe cold snap, the heaviest general snowfall in SA history occurred over a large part of the mid-north on Sunday night and yesterday morning.
Snow was reported from north of Peterborough to below Clare and fell mainly along the ranges in the northern agricultural districts.
In nearly all cases, falls began in the early hours of Monday morning and finished by 7 a.m.
Falls piled up against build-ings and laid white mantles on roofs and tree-branches. Although yesterday's severe cold was felt by many people in Adelaide colder days were recorded last month. Yesterday's minimum temperature was 43 degrees at 2.15 a.m., and the maximum for the day 52.9.
Treat For Children
Peterborough had its heaviest snowfall for 28 years. Children who had never seen snow before spent the morning throwing snowballs and building snowmen.
At Whyte-Yarcowie, where falls were more than a foot deep in places, snow could still be seen at 4 p.m., as white caps on the surrounding hills.
Yongala, the State's coldest town, had snow from 3.20 a.m. until daybreak. Minimum temperature for the day was only 32 degrees.
Hills Blanketed
For the first time since 1934 snow fell at Jamestown. At midday, drifts were still lying in the town, and Mount Lock and the Belalie hills were still blanketed early in the afternoon.
A 70-year-old resident at Hallett said that the falls were the heaviest for 20 years. Trucks and cars entering the town from outlying farms were held up until rains later In the moming washed the snow away.
Falls at Burra were hard and semi-frozen and had almost disappeared by 7 a.m.
Through most of the mid-north late last night conditions were extremely cold, and there was a possibility of further falls if the wind died down.

Article identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43780057
Page identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page2658349
APA citation
SNOW OVER BIG AREA (1948, August 24). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43780057 

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Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), Tuesday 24 August 1948, page 4.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/43780138

{quoting entire article}

GENERAL NEWS
WEATHER NOTES

The Deputy Director of Meteorological Services reported last night [Monday 23rd - Miles]:—With a fresh inflow of southern maritime air which had its origin south of Lat. 45 degrees, squally conditions prevailed over South Australia during the week-end. This stream was very unstable, and with the passage of several minor fronts in the stream, thunderstorms and hail were reported from many places, while snow fell along the ranges in the northern agricultural districts. Rainfall was general over the settled areas and scattered in the interior in the 48 hours ended 830 a.m. Monday, with best falls being 131 points at Peterborough and 122 points at Urairila. Further showers were reported from the settled areas during the day, best falls being 54 points at Stirling West, 42 points at Kapunda and 25 points at Yorketown. On Sunday night cloud and wind prevented excessive radiational cooling over the southern parts of settled areas, but temperatures were lower inland, and some frosts were reported, the lowest reading being 32 degrees at Yongala. Maxima on Monday were cool, ranging from 43 degrees at Stirling West to 65 degrees at Cook. The ridge from the anticyclone centred in Western Australia now extends right across the continent to Townsville in Queensland. An extensive area of low pressure is centred in the south Tasman Sea and still covers most of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

Article identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43780138
Page identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page2658352
APA citation
GENERAL NEWS (1948, August 24). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43780138 

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Burra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954) Tue 24 Aug 1948 Page 1.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/39161030

{quoting entire article}

Falls of Snow in Burra and District
Residents of Burra woke up on Monday morning to see that there had been a comparatively heavy fall of snow. In the district during the night. In sheltered spots the snow was fairly thick but rain had fallen and washed it off the trees and fences.
In the very early morning at about 3.30 o'clock Burra presented a mantle of white. The snow lay thickly on roofs, trees and fences.
Reports coming in from Hallett and Whyte-Yarcowie state that some inches of snow fell in those localities.
The hills surrounding Burra township were snow capped for several hours, and old “Sugar Loaf” presented a really beautiful sight.

Article identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39161030
Page identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page4747533
APA citation
Falls of Snow in Burra and District (1948, August 24). Burra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39161030 

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Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954) Thu 26 Aug 1948 Page 11
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/97817912

{quoting snow-relevant text from longer article}

SNOW AT CLARE and HILL RIVER
LIGHT FALLS ALSO AT WATERVALE, SEVENHILL, SPRING
FARM AND WHITE HUT.
LIGHT FALLS of snow were experienced at Clare, Sevenhill, Gil- lentown, White Hut, Spring Farm, and on parts of Hill River range, commencing a little after midnight on Sunday, Aug. 22.
At Watervale our correspondent reported snow falling lightly like almond blossom.
One man in South Clare noticed the snowflakes from his bedroom window. Got up and woke the whole family to go outside and see the rare event.
At Spring Farm three early astir watched the flakes in the early morning.
Parts of the Hill River range had in places a white mantle, but by 7 or 8 a.m. the snow was packed lightly like ice.
At Sevenhill at 6 a.m. in the morning, snow was about an inch deep over the landscape, but soon melted.
Nine o'clockers in Clare itself were amazed when told that snow had fallen, as the snow had melted even by the time the 7 o'clockers were on the way to work.
Only the milk man and milk-maids had a good view of the fast melting flakes.
At Burra there was a heavy fall many inches deep, and in Northern areas as far as Caltowie and Peterborough the heaviest falls ever were recorded.

Article identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97817912
Page identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page9626310
APA citation
SNOW AT GLARE and HILL RIVER (1948, August 26). Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97817912 

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Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954) Thu 26 Aug 1948 Page 5.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/97817899 

{quoting snow-relevant text from longer article)

WATERVALE NOTES
[From Our Own Correspondent.]
Watervale, Wed., Aug. 25,. 1948.

Snow— Those who were about at about 12.30 a.m. on Monday 23rd, would have witnessed a fall of snow. It came down very softly and looked like almond blossom petals.

Article identifier http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97817899

Page identifier http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page9626304

APA citation WATERVALE NOTES (1948, August 26). Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97817899

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Areas' Express (Booyoolee, SA : 1877 - 1948), Friday 27 August 1948, page 3.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/219216341

{quoting snow-relevant text from longer article}

SNOW EAST OF GLADSTONE
Residents of Gladstone had the unusual sight of seeing the hills east of the town covered in snow on Monday morning. Heavy rain and hail during the night kept people indoors, and since then good general rains have fallen.

Article identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article219216341
Page identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page23471544
APA citation
SNOW EAST OF GLADSTONE (1948, August 27). The Areas' Express (Booyoolee, SA : 1877 - 1948), p. 3. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article219216341 

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The article below says: "The fall of snow covered a big area of the upper north, ranging from Burra, Nackara, Belalie, Erskine and Cavenagh." It includes a table with records of snowfalls at Peterborough from 1888 to 1948. I don't know how accurate the table is.

I've quoted only the snow-relevant parts of the full article. Note that I've switched the order of paragraphs two and three below because of the otherwise puzzling layout of the original article.

I've also inserted at the bottom of the article a screengrab of the table so we can see it as it appears in the Trove image of the newspaper.

The Times and Northern Advertiser, Peterborough, South Australia (SA : 1919 - 1950)
Friday 27 August 1948 Page 4.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110548993

FALL OF SNOW AT PETERBOROUGH
Lovely Early Morning Sight
156 Points of Rain

Those who were out of bed between 1 and 6 a.m. on Monday morning saw one of the heaviest falls of snow since 1932. It was bitterly cold and blustery all Sunday and some very heavy showers of rain fell after dark. The snow came soon after 1 a.m. and fell almost continually until 3 o'clock and again for about half an hour at 6 o'clock. Many townspeople and the children scrambled eagerly out of bed to see the glorious sight.

The fall of snow covered a big area of the upper north, ranging from Burra, Nackara, Belalie, Erskine and Cavenagh.

We were asked when snow last fell at Peterborough and could not remember just the date and how heavy it was. With the help and information supplied by the Meteorological Departments of Melbourne and Adelaide we have compiled the following data, which we hope will be interesting to our readers.

1888—July 13 Light
1893—April 1 "
1894—July 15 "
1895—July 19 “
1896—July 11 "
1901—July 27 & 28 6 inches; August 27 Heavy
1904—June 30 Light
1905—August 29 3 inches
1908—July 24 & 25 Light
July—31—Heavy (12 inches on nearby hills)
—Sept. 14 Light
—Sept. 19 & 20 18 inches
1909—Aug. 1 & 2 Light
1910—Oct. 9 Heavy
1911—Sept. 15 Light
1912—Sept. 18 Heavy
1913—July 19 Light
1917—Aug. 21 Heavy
1918—July 13 Light
1919—Sept. 6 & 7 Heavy
1925—July 20 Very Light
1926—May 10 & 11 Moderate
1929—Aug. 30 & 31 Very Light
1932—Aug. 13 Heavy
1933—Sept. 7 & 8 Very Light
1934—Sept. 30 Very Light
1936—June 22 Light; Dec. 3 Very Light and latest fall on record
1941—Sept. 10 Very Light
1942—Sept. 1 Light
1946—Aug. 25 & 27 Light
1948—Aug. 23 2 inches



Article identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110548993
Page identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page10716978
APA citation
FALL OF SNOW AT PETERBOROUGH. (1948, August 27). The Times and Northern Advertiser, Peterborough, South Australia (SA : 1919 - 1950), p. 4. Retrieved January 8, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110548993

Weather Bureau weather maps (surface charts)

I didn't find any weather maps dated Sunday 22nd April 1948 in newspapers on Trove and I doubt if any were issued by the Weather Bureau as it was a Sunday. I found a map with a date on it that may be 23 (top right hand corner) published by the News on Monday 23rd and the same map posted on 24th by the Advertiser. My best bet is that the map was issued by the Weather Bureau at around 9am on Monday 23rd August. I don't recall seeing a report of snow starting to fall earlier than half an hour past midnight early Monday 23rd.

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) Tue 24 Aug 1948 Page 4
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/43780082



News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954) Mon 23 Aug 1948 Page 6
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/129901215



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