2009, 2010 and 2011. Three years in a row without any snow?

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Forward to year 2012: "Snow showers Mt Lofty, Hallett, elsewhere in SA 11th October 2012"

Summary for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

I know of no reports of snowfalls in South Australia in the years 2009, 2010 and 2011.

End of summary

During the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 I kept a close eye on the weather and an ear on the grapevine and to the best of my knowledge there were no reports of what were unequivocally snowflakes falling in South Australia in any of those years.

There was one report of frozen particles which might have been some kind of snowflakes briefly falling between Mt Lofty and Mt. Bonython. There's a report on this sighting written by Chris Handler on the page Chris Handler July 14th 2009 which includes a couple of photos of the flaky icy particles on Chris's black jacket. (Using your back button will return you here).

Chris originally reported this sighting on the Weatherzone forums in a post in the thread: Re: SA - Trough and Fronts with Rain and Showers, 10th to 16th July [OBS]. The post reads "Wow, I really wasn't expecting that. I was up at, (well, you probably all can guess where I was)during that last set of cells and the rain began to switch between rain and sleet. The video is when it first started sleeting, just down the base of Mt Bonython. There was one point when I hopped out of the car that It looked almost marginal for breaking into wet snow, as can be seen by all the flakes that where covering me."

There's also some brief discussion on whether it could have been snowflakes, in a few of the subsequent posts in that thread. Use your back button to return here. Teckert (Tim Eckert) posted "It also hasnt dropped below 4C at Lofty, which would suggest it wasnt quite cold enough for snow." Presumably that refers to readings from the automatic weather station near the television towers.

Reviewing on 19th September 2016 the evidence on the ice flakes reported by Chris on 14th July 2009 in the light of experience I've gained since then, I think it's likely it was sleet or graupel flakes rather than unmodified snowflakes. We'll never know for sure. I haven't seen even one close-up photo of a South Australian snowflake taken since the year 2000 (or before then for that matter) showing the snow-crystal structure. We need to learn how to quickly differentiate snowflakes from other icy particles while they are falling and take close-up photos. Or take a magnifying glass for quick examination, or maybe bring along an "inspector of snowflakes" to either reject them or give them official verification.

Here is a post I made on 30th October 2011 in the Weatherzone forums, which summarises my knowledge about snowfalls or the lack of snowfalls in the years 2009 to 2011 up till 30th October 2011. Re: South Australian and Adelaide day to day forecasting #1025288 - 30/10/2011 06:53 AM "Tomorrow is the last official day of the South Australian snow season ... . Not a single flake of snow has been reported in South Australia this season as far as I know ... . That's the third year in a row without any snow reported, except for one observation of some small white objects falling on Mount Lofty and resting on Chris's black garment last year or was it the one before I forget. The last fall of what was undoubtedly snow reported was in 2008. I know the memory can compress things so it seems events such as snow and storms ... were more common in the past, but three years without any snow? Bit of a worry really." {end of quote}

I didn't find any mention on Newstext of snow falling in South Australia during a search for any reports that may have escaped my attention in those years. Mind you, no reports of snow doesn't necessarily mean no snow fell anywhere. Recent experience suggests that usually there are no people on the summits of the highest peaks of the Mid-North and Flinders Ranges when the weather provides the possibility of snow falling. And if anyone does see snow fall on a summit or anywhere else, word of the observation may never reach the media or the grapevine.

I don't know how many other three-year periods have been so bereft of snowfall in SA but I would guess it's a pretty rare occurrence.

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