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2008 August 21st: snow showers on Mt. Lofty and snow also reported from Uraidla and Stirling, and ?? "over the Flinders".


Rating : 2 or 3 on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10)

One or more snow showers, and showers which included snow, were seen falling on Mt Lofty from near sunset to late evening, sufficient for a white carpet to form. A snow shower was also reported from Uraidla and from Stirling. A second-hand report indicated snow may have been reported from the Flinders Ranges district.

Primary cause: An intense high pressure system centred south of Western Australia at about the latitude of Bass Straight drove on its eastern flank a very cold air mass northwards from the Southern Ocean over South Australia, sufficiently cold to produce snow showers in the Mt Lofty district and hail showers more widely.

End of summary

A substantial pool of very cold air was moving up over southern SA during daylight hours of Thursday 21st August 2008. Several people on the Weatherzone forums reported hail in various Adelaide suburbs during the afternoon. On Mt Lofty from about 30 minutes before sunset to late in the evening at least one dry snowshower was reported and there were other showers which included snow. Photos taken on the night show there was a carpet of white on the ground, and remnants of this cover were seen and photographed around dawn the next day. I didn't find any records of snow falling after midnight.

A Bureau of Meteorology forecaster said in an interview on ABC radio Matt Collopy interview "I do have two reports last night around 11pm ... a couple of gentemen one in Uraidla and one in Stirling and that apparently the show shower that went for around ten or fifteen minutes and the gentleman from Stirling actually drove up to Mount Lofty and he said at Mount Lofty there was actually it was sitting on the ground and you could see the sort of covering of snow over the ground and various objects there ...". That's the only reference to locations where snow was reported falling in the interview.

On the Weatherzone forums teckert (Tim Eckert) posted: "BOM notes do state snow fell over the Flinders ...". That's the only reference to snow falling in the Flinders I've been able to find.

I've not found reports of snow falling at any other locations on 21st, nor any reports of snow falling on 22nd, but it does seem reasonable to think it could have fallen after midnight (ie on the morning of the 22nd) in one or more locations.

The relevant Weatherzone Forum thread for this snow event paints a picture of how events unfolded during this snow event. It's "Weatherzone » Forums » Weather Events » South Australia » S A Front, showers, hail and possible snow 20th - 22nd August [OBS}" h e r e .

I red this Weatherzone forum thread from end to end on 24th December 2014 while preparing this report, and selected the most snow-relevant posts and snippets from posts as I went, and copied and pasted them below. I didn't have time to proof my "copy and paste" so I don't guarantee I've not made any mistakes or missed relevant snippets. I've included some of the posted photos (the links to others have broken). Here's the results:

A substantial pool of very cold air was moving up over southern SA during daylight hours of Thursday 21st August 2008. The first report of hail on the forum thread was from Liz near Victor Harbor: "Just had a bout of pea sized hail" posted 12:42 PM Weatherzone forum time (not sure if that's SA Central Standard Time). Several people then reported hail in various Adelaide suburbs during the afternoon.

At 558pm forum time, teckert commented (I presume reading from the Lofty AWS on the internet) "1.5C at Lofty!!! very close to snowing now IMO..."

James Chambers posted at 559pm forum time "Hi all... just got a report from Rod who is at Mt Lofty with his partner and MB... he reports snow is currently falling! He said it's not settling, but it's definitely snow."

Meanwhile seaworthy was heading to the Lofty summit.

At 08:19 PM forum time teckert posted "Currently snowing on Mt Lofty!" but doesn't say where the snow report orginated - perhaps seaworthy sent him a message.

At 08:55 PM forum time Tim Thorpe posted from the Bull Creek Range near Meadows:
"... Is getting colder, but not cold enough. Now 2.4 and the streams have popped to be either side. On the edge of both but nothing more than that. In that though is more hail than rain, but still very light and doesn't really gauge anything. Don't rely on the radar, its seeing the snow/ice virga that doesn't reach ground and is somewhat off.
Better late than never I guess (still haven't had tea!!), A few pics from this sunset time as a line of coldie cells moved up from the south."

Above: "Snow ice "virga" for want of a better word."

Above: "Wet piles of cold air cloud on the south coast"

Above: "Small mamma type formation. Looked better in real life"

Above: "The southern view panorama with line of coldies"

My thanks to Tim Thorpe for permission to post his four photos here!

At 09:56 PM forum time seaworthy posted "Just been up to Mount Lofty.... fantastic! Had mostly just hail showers in the beginning before it finally snowed later on. Was snow and sleet mixed in, varying between the two at the snap of a finger."

Roddy visiting from New South Wales posted at 10:52 PM "Gyday all, MB, Alison, Sonya and myself enjoyed an afternoon and evening at Mt Lofty today with Dinner at the Summit resturant. 30mins prior to sunset we hade some lovely sleet wich turned to wet snow for a few mins.Later on during dinner some sago snow fell. At 9pm we jumped in the car in time to see just down the road a nice snow flurry which was dry!! Back at the Motel in Adelaide now - sorry we missed ya up there seaworthy.... Here are two pics from 9pm."

My thanks to Rodney Wallbridge for permission to post his two lovely falling snow photos below. These are the only photos I could find for this event that show falling snowflakes, and they're also a good illustration of the effective use of a flash on the camera to capture falling snowflakes. He commented to me: "... we were in Adelaide for the Australian Severe weather conference. We were watching the setup prior to arriving and planned to be up there to intercept the white gold." A masterstroke of good planning, both by Rodney and his companions and by whoever chose the date for the conference!

Tim Thorpe posted at 1135pm forum time from his home in the Bull Creek Range near Meadows that he'd stood out in a sleet shower and he posted the photo below. Thanks Tim for permission to include your photo here :-)

Teckert reported at 11:39 PM forum time that the Lofty temp was "0.1 at Lofty now.... very tempted to head up there now... but I will wait till 5am or so...". At 1147 he posted "Make that -0.1 laugh
I cant actually recall seeing it below zero on lofty? Wouldve but gee I havent seen it...
Snow would be settling now...."

Seaworthy posted at 1150pm forum time "A pic from the summit anyway.. not the best but something =] I was more just enjoying the flakes waffle down and make hardly any noise on the ground... laugh " The photo seems to have disappeared from the thread. 

At 02:07 AM morning of the 22nd forum time teckert posted "Hope he doesnt mind me posting it up here, but here's a link to some pics taken up on Mt Lofty of the settled snow...  Taken by a 'William' on the forums".

They were still at that link in the album "Mount Lofty Snowfalls" and are in Flickr's Creative Commons, or click on this link. Here is my selection of the best five.

Above: Photographer: William Dean (Willraja), Mt Lofty, 21st August 2008.

Above: Photographer: William Dean (Willraja), Mt Lofty, 21st August 2008.

Above: Photographer: William Dean (Willraja), Mt Lofty, 21st August 2008.

Above: Photographer: William Dean (Willraja), Mt Lofty, 21st August 2008.

Above: Photographer: William Dean (Willraja), Mt Lofty, 21st August 2008.

At 6.22am on 22nd forum time teckert posted "still quite a few showers moving up the ranges.... not making it much further than Mt Crawford area though, so looks like snow falls would be restricted to south of that...
Nuri is at 0.3C but no precip is maiking it up to the Barossa.."

Teckert posted at 07:43 AM forum time "up at the summit atm. Cold but not much snow actually on ground. Will wait 4 a shower but doubt it will snow now".

At 08:27 AM forum time bd bucketingdown posted from Nairn "... some sleet and some hail, but no real snow other than an odd flake or two embedded last night."

Paisley at 09:05 AM forum time posted:
"Hi all, Yep - just poor timing for this one. Kudos to the brave souls who went up last night! Like Tim E I did a 'dawn raid' on the summit, but it was pretty clear that the air was now too dry. Although there was still a little snow in what clouds there were, you'd have to be lucky to bullseye anything. However, since it was a SE airstream, I figured what accumulation there was must have been on the SE slopes, and sure enough there's still plenty of evidence that it snowed last night..." and he posted two photos of some snow patches on logs and the ground. My thanks to Dr Phil Bagust (username "paisley" on the Weatherzone forums) for permission to post his photos below.

Phil's above pics are also here and here.

01:22 PM forum time on 22nd bd bucketingdown posted: "Drove through a sleet shower at Woodside at about 12.30pm today!"

At 02:40 PM forum time I posted this: "I dreamed I went rabbit spotting in the hills from 2am to 7am - saw two dream bunnies inside one of the television tower enclosures on Mount Lofty and two dream bunnies on the footpath outside someone's house in Mount Barker Springs. So it was quite a successful dream bunny-spotting expedition smile .
By the way, in my dream I saw no falling snow - only a few light showers (mostly drizzle), and some fog on Mount Lofty. Just weren't any good dream shower clouds around of the kind that make dream snow.
Good thing for my health it was a dream and not for real though - what kind of deranged weatherwatcher would spend five hours in the hills in literally freezing temps on a night like that :rolleyes: .". (As you've probably guessed this was not a dream but a reality.)

Teckert posted at 03:27 PM "Just my pics from this morning at Mt Lofty...". They've since disappeared from the forum thread.

At 03:30 PM forum time paisley posted "Still a bit surprised we haven't heard of any falls further north - but I guess the moisture just wasn't there...".

At 03:37 PM teckert posted: "BOM notes do state snow fell over the Flinders so must have been some report/s....".

Helen posted from Booborowie at 400pm forum time "Certainly not around this area (or even Hallett for that matter, according to Tracie), so maybe further north around Mt Remarkable?"

Anthony Cornelius posted on 23rd at 07:37 AM forum time "Yesterday Bryan, Lennie, Ben (Seaworthy) and I went up to Mt Lofty. No snow, but a coldie moved over and gave some small hail (ie 2mm size hail)."

End of quotes from the Weatherzone thread.

Now here is the 128 km BoM Adelaide (Buckland Park) Radar Loop as archived by The Weather Chaser website, for
Thursday 21 Aug 2008 03:10:00 GMT which is 21/8/2008 12:40:00 pm
Friday 22 Aug 2008 03:00:00 GMT which is 22/8/2008 12:30:00 pm.
I'm not sure whether the "which is" times are eastern standard times or central standard times so I'll leave you to figure that one out if you need to know.

Click here  to set the loop in motion. If that link should fail, try this one (if you're using Explorer 9 you may need to save to file to your hard drive first and open it from there).

Oh what a beautiful, shower-rich and persistent southerly airstream!

Here's a link to a brief ABC news item "Cold blast brings snow to Adelaide". If the above link fails, try this one. The article includes a link to an ABC radio interview "Forecaster Matt Collopy tells Tony McCarthy on 891 ABC about snow reported in the Adelaide Hills" here.

If the link to the Matt Collopy interview fails, try this one. I wasn't able to find a direct link to the audio file on the site.

The photo in the above ABC website news item with the caption "Snow Reported in Adelaide Hills" is a "file photo" which I presume means it's not from this event. If that's the case I hope the practice of using file photos without saying they are file photos in the accompanying photo captions has since been abandoned. I imagine only a tiny proportion of the people who red the above news item would realised the photo is not of snow from this particular snowfall.

Now for six Bureau of Meteorology surface charts for 4am, 10am, 4pm and 10pm eastern standard time Thursday 21st August 2008 and for 4am and 10am EST Friday 22nd August. I sourced these from Laurier Williams' Australian Weather News website pages this Australian Weather News website page and

this Australian Weather News website page 

There are also some satellite pics on those pages.

On the Bureau of Meteorology's website I went to the file: "Monthly Weather Review South Australia August 2008". There I found the following minimum temperatures for "Mt Lofty" were -0.1 on 22nd and +2.3 on 23rd. BoM says "Minimum temperatures are for the 24 hours to 9 am on the date mentioned." I could not find mention of whether this was the Mt Lofty automatic weather station or another Mt Lofty location, but I think it's probably the aws.

That's about all the relevant information I was able to find on this snow event.

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End of report.