2005 South Australian Snowfalls.

By Miles Peachfield.

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I found reports of only one 2005 snow event in a search of Newstext and other sources including the Weatherzone forums and my diary. It happened on Tuesday June 21st.

2005 June 21st: snowflakes on Mt Lofty and at Crafers.


On 21st June 2005 hail, sleet and some snowflakes were reported from the summit of Mt Lofty and snow was also reported from Crafers.

Likely causes: a complex low pressure system near Tasmania with a post-frontal passage of a very cold and unstable air mass from the Southern Ocean.

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

End of summary

My report on the event.

On 21st June 2005 in the late afternoon or evening on the summit of Mt Lofty a "bolt of lightning hit the tower and took out the power in the cafeHail and sleet and some snowflakes" were reported from the summit of Mt Lofty and snow was also reported from Crafers.

It seems to have been a situation where hail and some sleet fell in "the hills" as Adelaidians call their local stretch of the Mt Lofty Ranges, most notably and perhaps only in the Mt Lofty district, and a few people were lucky enough to see some light snow falling along with the sleet.

I didn't find any reports of snow in the Mid-North or Flinders Ranges but given the low temperatures in this weather system it wouldn't surprise me if there were snow showers on the highest peaks including Mt Bryan and Mt Remarkable, where it was unlikely there was anyone there to see and report on it.

Here are snippets from an article in The Advertiser reporting on the weather of the 21st June 2005 (I purchased a copy from Newstext).

Edition 2 - MetroWED 22 JUN 2005, Page 004
DELUGE Record 54.6mm dumped in 24 hours HAVOC Accident chaos and plenty of near misses DAMAGE Trees blown over and suburbs flooded
Snow, sleet, hail, rain: Winter's record fury

The article includes the following text:
"YESTERDAY was the wettest June day recorded in Adelaide. In the 24 hours to 9am, a record 54.6mm fell in Adelaide - the highest June total since records began 168 years ago. ... the skies opening didn't bother everyone, with the Wilson and Encel children relishing the falling ice with "snowball fights'' at Mt Lofty Summit.
A hailstorm brought Hills residents to the summit in droves - people with cameras capturing the moment and children enjoying the scenery."

The article doesn't mention snow again, but there are other sources that do.

There's a substantial report (including some charts and satpics) on the weather of June 21st 2005 on Laurier Williams' Australian Weather News website. If that link breaks at some time in the future, you can go here for an archived mht file of the page. If you're using Explorer 9, you may need to save the file to your computer first and then open it from there with Explorer 9.

Included is some information about a suspected tornado at or near Wangary on southern Eyre Peninsula, and (quoting from their report) "Hourly infrared satellite images for SA from 8.30am to 6.30pm. The animation opens with the passage of a frontal cloudband through Adelaide that brought record June rain to the city. An area of strong convection approaches the southern Eyre Peninsula during the morning, and the animation pauses at 1.30pm when a suspected tornado and violent storms were experienced in the Wangary area, marked with a red rectangle. Weatherzone, BoM." You can go here for an alternative source of the satpic loop.

In a thread on the Weatherzone forums "Weatherzone » Forums » Weather Events » South Australia » SA rain band/low 18-20th June 2005, snow was reported, and below I've copied the most snow-relevant posts in the thread I could find. Links to some photos were posted in the thread but links to the ones I checked were broken.

Re: SA rain band/low 18-20th June 2005
#724264 - 16/06/2005 12:09 PM
Loc: Seaford Meadows, SA
My goodness @ the potential with this low! The thing I like about it is its close proximity to Adelaide, resulting in the likelyhood of some very strong winds, particularly in the early hours of sunday morning or sat night. Could well be a little damage around from the odd tree down on powerlines, odd roof damaged etc.

Basically a low deepends rapidly west of Perth (right now) and draws in a significant quantity of moisture from the NW into it. It then weakens as it moves into the bight, but a new strong cold front will move into the region with another upper trough (cold pool) behind it and this should re-invigorate the low and it should rapidly deepen right in the bight south of Eucla. Areas of rain, light and patchy at first as well as isolated thunderstorms willd evelop in the west later on friday.

As the low intensifies and moves east, more moisture will be drawn down into it from the NW, however the bulk of the moisture and rainband will stream across the interiors of SA and NT along a strong subtropical jetstream.

On saturday this low will be located roughly south of Ceduna and still intensifying, Areas of rain combined with strong to gale force N to NW winds should develop over agricultural areas. Isolated thunderstorms are possible, due to the relatively high instabilty and location of a SE exit region, but the dynamics are not as organised as our last lot of severe thunderstorms on friday evening.

On sunday the low should weaken a little and be centred somewhere south of Adelaide around KI, or just south of here. Strong and squally NW winds will gradually shift W to SW over the course of the day as the low moves east. Showers, isolated thunderstorms and small hail are likely over southern agricultural districts, more frequent and heavier about the southern coasts and ranges.

A second trough should rapidly develop on the western flank of this low and impact on the coastline of the western ag areas, chiefly the EP over the course of the day. Showers and isolated thunder and small hail is likely along with squally SW winds.

Everything eases on monday with scattered showers becoming isolated, and SW winds moderating.

#724403 - 20/06/2005 05:21 PM
Loc: Unley, SA,
OMG!!!!!! look at this!!
Isolated snow is possible about the higher ground in the Central and Northern agricultural districts during the evening
thats from the BoM!!!!

#724432 - 21/06/2005 09:01 AM
Loc: Magill campus Uni SA (w) & Fir...
Hmmmm, looking at the latest MSL chart, coldest air tonight or even tomorrow morning? Question is - will all the moisture be gone by then?? Dont think there's much snow in the offing today - tonight however...

#724473 - 21/06/2005 05:07 PM
Loc: Unley, SA, Fine weather bubble...
WOW!!!!!! temp just dropped to 0.2 at mount lofty! real possiblility of snow there now!? kent town also dropped to 6.7

#724479 - 21/06/2005 05:18 PM
Reports of snow at Crafers. Won't be too surprised to see it at home while I am busy with the chainsaw. Lovin it!!!!!

#724480 - 21/06/2005 05:19 PM
Loc: NE suburbs, Adelaide, South Au...
Currently snowing at Mt Lofty and Crafers!! smile
Pics on Ch 10 news shortly

#724481 - 21/06/2005 05:38 PM
Loc: Melbourne City
I was on Ch10 smile
Will have pics shortly which i am just sending to Tim E. Mostly sleet at the summit but there was some snow!
Very cold brrrrrr

#724483 - 21/06/2005 05:38 PM
Loc: NE suburbs, Adelaide, South Au...
Ummm that doesnt look like snow lol... thats a lot of hail and sleet.... but yer will more than likely snow there now tonight. Phone call from Chris who got his mug on ch 10 to say that yer mostly sleet....

#724485 - 21/06/2005 05:42 PM
Loc: Melbourne City
Ok went up there and took some pics of the fog rolling in.... then some drizzle, then a huge bolt of lightning hit the tower and took out the power in the cafe.... basically about 10sec after that, hail and sleet came down.... then some snow arrived... the floating ice particles but mostly it was sleet!
Just thoring out now smile

#724494 - 21/06/2005 08:33 PM
Loc: Gawler East, SA - 102m
5.4mm today since 9am
so was it snow at mount lofty or hail/sleet? i was considering driving up to mount crawford (525m) where i believe there is a reasonable chance of snow considering its 3.3C there now

Loc: Unley, SA, Fine weather bubble...
hailling again outside now...just finished hailing frown ..., 2.1 at mount lofty still

#724506 - 22/06/2005 08:45 AM
Loc: Melbourne City
Pictures from yesterday's venture to My Lofty where mostly SLEET fell but yes there was some snow...
Image 1
Image 2
Others found here:
Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4

{end of quotes from the Weatherzone thread}

On Tim Thorpe's "hillsrain.com" website there's a reference to snow in his report on this weather event:

"June 2005 Winter Rains Continue"
"Temperatures plummeted as conditions continued to degenerate during the day of the 21st. Kingscote, a coastal town on Kangaroo Island recorded the amazing temp of 5.3 degrees. Very impressive for a station near sea level! Lightning, hail and thunder roared through many areas bringing strong winds and rapidly dropping temps. Mt Lofty dropepd to near zero giving a real possibility of snow on the ground. Sure enough reports of snow at Crafers and Mt Lofty plus other ranges locations filtered through. Likely it was sleet and hail, but........ snow flurries perhaps?"

Below are BoM mean sea level analysis charts for 10pm EST Monday 20th and for 4pm EST Tuesday 21st June 2005.

End of "2005 South Australian Snowfalls."

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