Years 2000 to 2016: Snowfalls Summary.

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Years 2012 to 2016 Snowfalls Summary.

Year 2012

On 11th October 2012 snow showers fell on some of the highest ground in the southern Mt Lofty Ranges, the Mid-North and the southern Flinders Ranges.

This is the only 2012 snow event I have records of.

Snow showers 11th October 2012 including Mt Lofty, Crafers, Hallett, Mt Bryan Range, Burra Hills, Mt Remarkable.

To read my full report on this snowfall click here (opens in new tab or window).

Not only was this a rare October snowfall for South Australia but it was in my estimation the "biggest" overall fall in the 17 year period from 2000 to 2016.

Quoting from a Bureau of Meteorology Facebook page:  "South Australian snowfall events in October happen few and far between. The last one was reported in the Quorn area in 1995, and the time before that was around Adelaide in 1910." I've since found newspaper reports of two additional falls since 1910 - a light snowfall on the summit of Mt Lofty on October 30th 1949, and snow reported at Mount Remarkable, Mt Lofty and Crafers on 14th October 1946.

Summary

Rating : 5 or 6 on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10).

I found reports of snow from the following locations: Mt Remarkable/Melrose area, Mt Bryan Range, Hallett, Burra Hills, Mt Lofty, Crafers, Stirling, and Forest Range. I haven't seen any reports of snow falling in the central Mt Lofty Ranges or in the South-East.

Primary causes: a complex low pressure system just south of Tasmania combined with a high pressure system in the western Bight to bring a very cold air mass over southern South Australia from the Southern Ocean. The high was ridging south-eastwards which increased the southerly fetch.

Representative weather maps, videos and photos.

Below are the Bureau of Meteorology mean sea level pressure charts for 11pm eastern standard time 10th and for 5am and 11am eastern standard time 11th. The first snow shower was observed on Mt Lofty by snowchaser Mark Dawson at very approx 1am central standard time on 11th, and there were more snowshowers during the morning in darkness and then during the daylight morning hours.







This was the first substantial South Australian snowfall in the new era of widespread ownership of mobile phones and digital cameras. And by good fortune some of the snow showers fell during daylight hours in very accessible places for the media and members of the public and for snowchasers, most notably on Mt Lofty. So in selecting representative videos and photos there are many to choose from.

On and around Mt Lofty this was also one of the most photogenic snowfalls during the years 2000 to 2016, with some of the showers falling during daylight hours, a reasonable density of floating snowflakes at times, the wind only light to moderate, and more than one snowshower. There are links to many more videos and photos in my full report of this snow event on this page.

7 News : On YouTube "Cameraman's Cut - Snow falling at Mt Lofty" - various scenes during snow showers on Mt Lofty http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D25leYnXBRs

Below: links to a video I took on the north-east side of the Mount Lofty summit during a snow shower, looking downwind during a particularly heavy period of falling snow.

video 5 mp4 file 12 mb 13 secs ............... video 5 avi file

Jason Hywood took a slow-motion video of falling snow in the Mt Lofty summit car park at 1245 pm "(taken using the slow motion capture on my HTC One phone.)". It's one of my favorite South Australian snow videos: Mt Lofty October 11th 12.45pm slow-motion.

A set of photos taken by local residents of snow in the Mid-North, and a few from Mt Lofty, on Yahoo's "7 News" website (Adelaide section). The photo gallery is "Snow falls in South Australia. Yahoo!7 12:58pm 11th October 2012" here Yahoo 7 News "Snow falls in South Australia.

There's an excellent set of 22 landscape photos by Burra Motor Inn taken in the Hallett district, showing the dusting and in some cases the carpet of snow on the countryside and in Hallett, here Burra Motor Inn snow photos 11th October 2012

End of summary of 11th October 2012 snow event.

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Year 2013

I know of only one snowfall recorded in the year 2013, on July 20th.

This is the only known 2012 snow event.

2013 July 20th Saturday: local light snowfalls in Mid-North and Mt Lofty district.

To read my full report on this snowfall click here (opens in new tab or window).

Summary

Rating : on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10).

In the southern Mt Lofty Ranges showers with hail, sleet and graupel and some snowflakes fell on the upper slopes of Mt Lofty, and snow was also reported from Crafers and Stirling. In the Mid-North snow was reported in Burra, near Booberowie, and at Spalding, and a light cover of snow decorated the upper reaches of the higher hills near Burra, and on Mt Bryan the mountain and Razorback Ridge which adjoins Mt Bryan .

Primary causes: The combination of a complex north-south oriented low pressure area east of South Australia and a strong high south of the western Bight which extended a ridge south-eastwards, drove a deep and very cold south-westerly airstream over the south-eastern quarter of South Australia.

Representative photos, video and weather map.

Below: Snow cover on Mt Bryan (right of centre), seen from the east, from on or near the Mt Bryan East Road, on Saturday 20th July 2013. Photographer: Jacob Elliott, © Jacob Elliott. The fairly flat summit area is just over the crest in the photo and if not for the fog wreathing the top of the mountain we could see the communication towers on the summit. Mt Bryan is east of Hallett in the Mid-North, and at 929m is the tallest mountain in the Mt. Lofty Ranges. Mount Lofty is 727 metres high.



Below: A mix of falling ice particles observed by various onlookers. Mount Lofty summit Saturday 20th July 2013, photographer Miles Peachfield, camera time 850am.



Below: The hail-graupel-sleet-snow mix builds up on the ground. Mount Lofty summit Saturday 20th July 2013, photographer Miles Peachfield, camera time 903am.



Below are links to a video I took, with the following caption in my full report: "Near the end of a substantial shower of what was predominantly small hail with some flakes mixed in at times and probably some sleet and rain, what appeared to me to be light snow fell for a few minutes or maybe just a couple of minutes. This was the only time during the several hours I spent on Mt Lofty that I saw what seemed to be snow alone falling. I chose a fairly dark background as a good place to give the snow maximum chance of showing up on the screen, and took this video, camera time 856am." Whether these are actually pure snowflakes falling we'll never know.

video 3 best quality 11mb mp4

video 3 good quality 6 mb mp4.

video 3 on YouTube.

Below is the Bureau of Meteorology mean sea level pressure chart for 10am eastern standard time 20th July 2013. I was on Mt Lofty from about 4am to about 10am Saturday morning local time. I saw what I'm confident were snow flakes or snowy flakes alone, falling only briefly, maybe for a couple of minutes, around 9am local time.



End of summaryof 20th July 2013 snow event.

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Year 2014

In the year 2014 I have records of three snow events: on June 28th, July 9th and August 3rd.

This is the first of the three 2014 snow events.

2014 June 28th: Snow on the summit of Mt Bryan in the Mid-North.

As seen, experienced and photographed by the Friends of the Heysen Trail End-to-End 'Minus 1' group of hikers.

To read the full report on this snowfall click here (opens in new tab or window).

Summary

Rating : 3 on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10).

On 28th June 2014 snow fell on and near the summit of Mt Bryan in the Mid-North sufficient to lay a carpet, experienced and photographed by Friends of the Heysen Trail End-to-End 'Minus 1' group of hikers. Elsewhere I found a reference to snow at only one other location on that day - a second-hand report of snow "Apparently around terowie ... ".

Primary cause: a low pressure system with one centre just south of Tasmania and another a long way further south combined with a high pressure system in the western Bight ridging to the south-east to bring a very cold air mass over southern South Australia from the Southern Ocean.

Comments: One of the best snow adventures in South Australia I've come across for any snow event. Without these intrepid hikers continuing their ascent to the summit in freezing conditions we would know next to nothing about this snowfall, maybe only a second-hand report about snow at Terowie!

Representative photos and weather map.

Below: On the summit. Robert Alcock (right), with the snow-plastered stone chair in the upper right looking out over the eastern face of Mt Bryan to the countryside below. If I can find the name of the person on the left I will add it here.  Source: I checked on 8th July 2017 and found the two photos below and four other photos on 'The Heysen Trail' Facebook page in this album.



Below: Starting the descent down the east face of Mt Bryan. Two of the hikers are betting on the heat of friction overcoming the chance of frostbite.



Below: Bureau of Meteorology surface chart for 10am eastern standard time June 28th (snow day).



End of summary of 28th June 2014 snow event.

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This is the second of the three 2014 snow events.

2014 Wednesday July 9th: Amazing Deja Vu Snowfall on Mt Bryan Summit !! and light snowfall at Hallett.

Summary

To read the full report on this snowfall click here (opens in new tab or window).

Rating : on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10)

Falling snow reported at two locations both in the Mid-North: on and near the summit of Mt Bryan and in the nearby town of Hallett. Snow-chaser Mark Dawson climbed Mt Bryan and experienced near-blizzard conditions during a prolonged snow-shower. Eye-witness reports of light snow falling in Hallett from three residents appeared in the media.

Primary cause: A complex low pressure area, with more than one centre, passing to the south of South Australia with a very unusually long north-south elongation down towards Antarctica. This advected very cold air from far to the south up to south-central South Australia. A small low near Kangaroo Island with a front passing through the Mid-North added to the instability of the atmosphere on the morning of the snow showers.

Representative photos, video and weather maps.

Below: Quoting Mark describing the blizzard conditions on the summit of Mt Bryan: "The snow came down hard and sideways for maybe 20-25 minutes, peaking around 11.20 from memory ... . " He took this photo of snow on the leeward side of the summit. It's one of the best South Australian snow-on-the-landscape photos I've seen. The dark shrubs are a native plant called the Shrub Violet also called Tree Violet (? Melicytus dentatus). The lone tree is a Sheoak Tree Allocasuarina verticillata formerly Casuarina stricta.



Best illustrative video (it's on YouTube): "Mount Bryan Snow, South Australia 9 July 2014" by Mark Dawson.

Below: a Bureau of Meteorology surface chart and a satellite image from mid to late Wednesday morning 9th July around the period when the snow was observed falling. On the surface chart there's a front passing through the Mid-North associated with a small low pressure centre near Kangaroo Island. On the satellite images there's a substantial area of very cold-topped cloud over the Mid-North rather than the smaller in diameter "coldie" cumulonimbus clouds that occasionally deliver snow showers in winter-spring.

Below:10am eastern standard time 9th July 2014.



Below:1030am eastern standard time 9th July 2014.



End of summaryof 9th July 2014 snow event.

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This is the third of the three 2014 snow events.

2014 August 1st Friday: a few light snow showers in the Mt Lofty district and a brief snow-shower and some snowflakes seen around Mt Bryan the mountain in the Mid-North.

Summary

To read my full report on this snowfall click here (opens in new tab or window).

Rating : on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10).

In the southern Mt Lofty Ranges light snow shower(s) were reported from Mt Lofty and the towns of Stirling, Crafers and Aldgate, and there was a report of snow at Bridgewater. In the Mid-North there were reports of snow falling briefly near and on Mt Bryan the mountain.

Primary cause: A high pressure system centred over the south-western tip of Western Australia ridging southwards, combined with a double-centred low pressure system near Tasmania, drove a very cold air mass from the Southern Ocean over much of the south-eastern quadrant of South Australia as far north as the Mid-North, with embedded cumulonimbus shower clouds and isolated lightning activity.

Representative items.

Below is a Bureau of Meteorology mean sea level pressure chart for 4am eastern standard time 1st August 2014. Snow was seen falling at times in the Mt Lofty district during the hours of darkness on the morning of 1st August.



Below: An enhanced infrared satellite image dated 330am Friday 1st August central standard time. Quoting from Mt Lofty Newsagency manager Eddie Harris: "From about 3.30 to 4am there was a bit of light snow all the way from Aldgate to Stirling". The image shows an impressive field of cumulonimbus shower clouds with isolated lightning activity, reaching as far north as the central districts of South Australia.



Below: Snowchaser Josh Burton took this photo of falling windblown snow on Mt Lofty adjacent to the Mount Lofty television towers, early on Friday morning, posting it onto Facebook with the words: "1/8/14 Accidental long exposure of snow falling (this is unfortunately the best picture I got, you'll have to take my word that it really did snow), approx 12:15am. The light is the security floodlight shining on the gates at the communications towers." I particularly like the strobe effect visible on some of the snowtrails particularly those on the left of the light source. This was presumably due to the alternating current powering the light source.



I've been unable to find any other photos or any videos showing falling snow on this day.

End of summaryof 1st August 2014 snow event.

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Year 2015.

This is the only 2015 snow event I found.

2015 July 11th: Snow falls on Mt Lofty and more widely on some high country of the Mid-North.

To read my full report on this snowfall click here (opens in new tab or window).

Summary

Rating : on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10).

On Saturday July 11th 2015 snow was seen falling on Mt Lofty summit and on some high country of the Mid-North. There were many reports of snow observed falling at various locations in the Mid-North, some with accompanying videos and/or photos. These locations included the Heysen Trail on the ascent of Mt Bryan from the western side and on the summit, along the Mt Bryan East Road on the east side of the Mt Bryan Range, on Banbury Road among hills in the northern part of the Mt Bryan Range, on the Barrier Highway north of Hallett, on a farm "...730 metres above sea level near Tarcowie", in the Morchard Hills close to Orroroo, about 5kms from Jamestown, in Peterborough, about 13 kilometres north of Jamestown, Brown’s Hill about 10km north-east of Jamestown, along the Mannanarie Hills, around Burra, around Mount Remarkable in the southern Flinders Ranges, and on and near the summit of Mt Lofty. I haven't seen any reports from the northern Flinders Ranges, the central Mt Lofty Ranges or the South-East.

Primary causes: A Southern Ocean low passing south of South Australia brought a cold pool of air from down near Antarctica over southern South Australia, and a trough or atmospheric disturbance associated with a secondary low centre that developed to the north of the main centre may have contributed.

The Bureau of Meteorology posted the image below on Twitter on the day before the snow fell in South Australia.
"BOM South Australia@BOM_SA
"Where's our cold snap coming from? This track shows where tomorrow's air was yesterday! [tomorrow is Saturday 11th and yesterday is Thursday 9th]
#SAweather #AntarcticBlast pic.twitter.com/4L3kpuZ3zq 5:08 PM - 10 Jul 2015 "



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A selection of representative weather maps, photo and videos.

Below: Bureau of Meteorology surface charts for 4am and 10am eastern standard time 11th July 2015. Here's some times snow fell on the day. Despite spending an inordinate amount of time searching, including futile attempts to extract a recording time from my videos, I've not been able to find out just when I saw a snow shower on the summit of Mt Lofty on the 11th but it was after sunrise and before 10am! Josh Burton filmed a video of falling snow on a road on the fringe of the Mt Bryan Range "Snow falling on Mount Bryan East Road, east of Hallett at 12pm. [noon] Approx 650m ASL". The camera time for a photo of snow falling on the northern end of the Mt Bryan Range is "1204" = 1204pm. "DrCraig Ortolan" took a video of falling snow at Peterborough with the caption "Snowing Peterborough about 1:15 today" (115pm.)





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Below: Werner K took this photo "Sharyn enjoying her first snowfall ..." from a road in hilly partly wooded country just to the north of Mt Bryan the mountain.



Snowchaser Mark Dawson drove along the Mt Bryan East Road which runs along the eastern side of the Mt Bryan Range on the morning of the 11th, and captured an uncommonly good video showing among other things a substantial snowshower falling in the distance and approaching and engulfing his vehicle. The video concludes with impressive zoomed-in footage of the snowshower sweeping across a hill on the eastern side of the Range. His video can be viewed on You Tube here. It's three and a half minutes long and most of the action takes place in the second half so it's well worth watching it in full. I don't recall seeing any similar footage of a moderate to heavy snow shower sweeping across hill country in South Australia.

Earlier in the morning on the summit of Mt Lofty I took the following video when the only snowshower I saw while I was there was probably about at its densest. Here are three options for this video:
21 MB mp4 file ...................................................... 11 MB mp4 file

 

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Click on this link for a fine video posted onto Twitter by "National Parks South Australia" with the text "This time last week, snow was falling on #MountLofty Summit! Check out this great footage, captured by Ranger Nick. #NationalParksSA" .

 End of summary of 11th July 2015 snow event.

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Year 2016.

This is the first of two 2016 snow events.

Back to home page.

2016 July 4th: a fall of snow reported from Mt Lofty, unexpected and witnessed by few people.

To read my full report on this snowfall click here (opens in new tab or window).

Summary

Rating : 1 on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10).

On the evening of 4th July 2016 in the hours of darkness before midnight, sleet and snow were seen falling on and near the summit of Mt Lofty. Very few people witnessed the snow falling. I've only been able to find one personal account, one excellent video, one minimalist video, and no photos.

Primary causes: Unusual causes for South Australian snow: a combination of an upper trough crossing southern South Australia with an upper low developing in the vicinity of the southern Mt Lofty Ranges, and a weak surface low developing in approximately the same location and bringing a southerly airstream over the range.

Comment: It seems that a key to the lack of prior expectation among the media and the forecasters and snowchasers was that meteorological conditions favorable for snow reaching the ground only developed during the late afternoon and early evening of the day. Another notable feature was the unusually large snowflakes captured in Glen Pearce's video linked to below,

A video and a selection of representative weather maps.

This beautiful video of the falling snow was taken by Glen Pearce and posted onto YouTube. It's the best night-time video of falling snow in South Australia I've yet seen and one of only two videos I found for this event. 
Title: "Snow at Mt Lofty"
Camera time for the video is: 1007pm 4th July.
Link to video on YouYube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgboBYOddCM

I've embedded the video below but I do recommend watching it on YouTube in fullscreen.

 

Below: Bureau of Meteorology surface charts for 4pm and 10pm eastern standard time on 4th July 2016. I saw no report of snow falling before sunset. An eyewitness reported that it was snowing in the Mt Lofty summit car park when he arrived there at about 8:10 pm. Camera time for Glen Pearce's video of falling snow is 1007pm.





Below: Bureau of Meteorology 500 hPa Analysis charts for 930am and 930pm central standard time on 4th July 2016. They show a well developed upper level trough extending northwards into southern South Australia at 930am, and an upper low has developed in this trough pretty much over the southern Mt Lofty Ranges and surrounding districts by 930pm. Source: BoM Analysis Chart Archive.

Below: 500 hPa Analysis chart, Australian Region
00 UTC 04/07/2016 (= 930am central standard time)



Below: 500 hPa Analysis chart, Australian Region
12 UTC 04/07/2016 (= 930pm central standard time)



End of summary of the 4th July 2016 snow event

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This is the second of the two 2016 snow events.

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2016 July 12th Tuesday: two or three snow showers Mt Lofty, isolated reports elsewhere in southern and central Mt Lofty Ranges, and in Burra district in Mid-North.

To read my full report on this snowfall click here (opens in new tab or window).

Summary

Rating : on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10).

On Tuesday morning 12th July showers of/with snow and/or sleet were observed by numerous visitors on and near the summit of Mount Lofty. I saw one or more reports from Mt Crawford the mountain, "the top of Tower Hill above Williamstown (630m asl)", Stirling, the summit of Mt Barker the mountain, Echunga, two second-hand reports from Kuitpo, Burra, and hill country north and south of Burra. I didn't see any reports from the Flinders Ranges or the South-East. A notable feature of some of the reports was the prominence of accompanying sleet and hail, making it difficult to determine both the purity of any snow showers and the composition of white ice on the ground both at a distance and close-up.

Primary cause: The primary cause was a very deep low pressure system with its main centre about half way between Mt Gambier and Antarctica and with a very unusually long elongation north-south. On its western flank was a high pressure system centred south-west of Perth and extending a ridge down towards Antarctica. The combination of these two systems drove below-freezing air north from Antarctica right up to our southern ranges where it was still just cold enough for snowflakes to reach some of the highest ground.

A selection of representative weather maps, videos and a photo.

Below: "Snowshower enjoyed by very excited visitors : Mt Lofty summit 12th July 2016." It's snowing and very excited visitors seize the opportunity to come out and experience snowflakes eye to eye! Mount Lofty summit, 12th July 2016 at about 314pm. This is my video I think best captured the atmosphere prevailing during this snow shower outdoors on the viewing arena.

37 MB mp4 file - best quality

19 MB mp4 file - good quality

Or watch on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWssy5q3HwM

Below: excited visitors and falling snow on the summit.



Below: A chart from Weatherzone via the Facebook page "Mid North Storms" (posted on July 12th 1032am) showing the path of the very cold air from Antarctica to southern South Australia. I don't know who added the black annotation.



Below: Bureau of Meteorology surface chart for 4pm eastern standard time on 12th July 2016 (330pm Mt Lofty time). I was on the summit from about 615am local time to very approx 5pm. There was only one shower mostly or all of snow, at approximately 310pm.



End of summaryof the 12th July 2016 snow event.

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