2014 August 1st Friday: light snow-showers on Mt Lofty and vicinity and a brief snow-shower and some snowflakes seen around Mt Bryan the mountain.

Another cold pool, and a teaser for snowchasers, the public and the media.

Author Miles Peachfield.

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Summary

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

Rating on minimum 1 to maximum 10 scale: 3½

Primary cause: High pressure system centred south-western tip of Western Australia ridging southwards, double-centred low pressure system near Tasmania, cold pool from Southern Ocean with embedded cumulonimbus shower clouds with isolated lightning activity traversed south-eastern South Australia as far north as Mid-North. End of summary

On the morning of Friday 1st August 2014, in the southern Mt Lofty Ranges snow was reported from the towns of Stirling, Crafers and Aldgate, and at Mt Lofty House, and near the television towers on Mt Lofty, and at least a few flakes were seen on the summit of Mt Lofty. There was a report of snow on the ground in part of Bridgewater. It seems likely that one or more snow showers fell on the summit of Mt Lofty during the early hours of Friday morning when the gate to the summit was closed and snow was seen falling at the nearby television towers.

In the northern Mt. Lofty Ranges there were reports of snow falling briefly near and on Mt Bryan the mountain. As far as I know nobody was on the summit of Mt Bryan during the snow window of opportunity.

I have not seen any reports of snow falling in the Flinders Ranges or elsewhere in South Australia.

First, I quote selectively from a News.com.au news item by Andrew Dowdell titled "Mother Nature delivers snow to the Adelaide Hills, and wild wind and rain to SA", which quotes Mt Lofty Newsagency manager Eddie Harris reporting on what he saw early Friday morning 1st August. His account is one of only very few sources of information I've been able to find on where and when snow fell in the Mt Lofty area.

"Mt Lofty Newsagency manager Eddie Harris’s start to the day was ... greeted with snow when he hit the road for his paper round at 3.30am.
“From about 3.30 to 4am there was a bit of light snow all the way from Aldgate to Stirling and then there was a bit at Crafers about 4.30,” Mr Harris said.
“It definitely was snow, it was only a light dusting but it wasn’t hail, it was snow.”
Mr Harris said this morning was the third time he had seen snow since taking up his paper round 15 years ago.
He predicted those who braved the early cold for a taste of white winter a little later in the morning would be disappointed because of the windy conditions.
“At about 4.45 I got to Lofty and there was nothing up here at all, the wind will be the big telltale, areas out of the wind with a bit of cover might get some so it depends on that.”
As it turned out, Mr Harris was correct, though enthusiasts received a consolation prize of a hailstorm.
Self-confessed weather fanatic Jason Hywood would have been disappointed, having arrived at the Mt Lofty summit about 4.50am with high hopes of seeing snow.
“I’ve been up here the last two times it has snowed and I’d like to see it again this time,” Mr Hywood said." {end of quote from news item}



Above: An enhanced infrared satellite image dated 330am Friday 1st August Central Standard Time. See above quote 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. Any mountains in the South-East of South Australia would probably have received quite a pretty cover of snow above about 800 metres. Maybe after the next volcanic eruptions?



Above: The Bureau of Meteorology's surface chart issued at 330am central standard time Friday 1st August 2014. It looks like a fairly typical surface chart for light snow-showers on the highest ground, with a south-southwesterly airstream with a deep southerly fetch on the east side of a high pressure system which is ridging to the south, and with a low near Tasmania extending a trough north-northwest to coastal South Australia.

Now here are some comments and observations posted into the Weatherzone forums thread "SA - Stong Cold Front and cold outbreak July 30 - Aug 1". This is the only other substantial source of information I've been able to find about where and when the snow fell in the Mt Lofty area, thanks to the intrepid snowchasers and observers who braved the below zero apparent temperatures.

I've quoted some posts in full and selectively from others. The posting times shown in the thread are Weatherzone server times which are half an hour ahead of central standard time so I've changed the posting times shown in the thread to the actual central standard times. If you need to know the exact time a post was published I suggest double-checking the time in case I've made an error in the correction.

kgb007 (Kym Burton) post #1271658 - 31/07/2014 9:45 PM Thursday
Did a quick trip to Lofty, caught the coldie that went over at 830pm! Heaps of hail mixed with graupel, really stung the face when looking into it! Even a bit of sleet at the very end, few people milling about around the summit! Was crunchy underfoot for awhile, so cold the hail/graupel took its time melting!

Jaybee (Josh Burton) post #1271686 - 31/07/2014 12:13 PM Thursday
Snow at lofty, not settling but definitely snow.

Jaybee (Josh Burton) #1271691 - 01/08/2014 1256 PM 31/07/2014 Thursday
Good solid snow shower but no ground accumulation.

teckert (Tim Eckert) #1271740 - 01/08/2014 08:13 AM Friday
Has it actually just snowed on the summit just now or just sleet and hail? Media going berserk saying snow....
Edit... Nope just hail/sleet apparently....

Eevo #1271742 - 01/08/2014 08:21 AM Friday
it had snowed in stirling, aldgate n bridgewater. patches still on the group but largely gone now.
i dont think the summit got anything

*jr* #1271751 - 01/08/2014 AM 08:41AM Friday
At the summit this morning talked to a couple (from Snowtown, ironically) who had some dustings at Mt Lofty House at dinner time last night. Snow stuck onto a fence for a minute or so after the brief fall.

SURFER (Jason Hywood) #1271773 - 01/08/2014 09:51 AM Friday
No Tim no snow, best hail shower I have ever seen, some sleet one or two flakes floating down and up but not enough to really say it snowed. ... hail still covering parts.

Markus (Mark Dawson) post #1271778 - 01/08/2014 10:19 AM Friday
Was at Hallett earlier on this morning to watch those couple of half decent cells come through. Found a spot where you can access with the car at 705m asl. First band produced lots of sleet, which was mostly intact, so snowflake level wasn't far above me, then in the second had a brief 15 second or so flurry of snowflakes, so certainly snowed in the area and on the summit, however precipitation was much too low for there to be any real settling that I could see. Didn't bother climbing given even the cells going through now would be unlikely to produce enough snow for it to be worthwhile. But yeah confirmed to at least 700m.

{end of quotes of Weatherzone thread posts}



Above: Snowchaser Josh Burton took this photo of falling windblown snow on Mt Lofty 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), adjacent to Mount Lofty towers, approx 12:15am. The light is the security floodlight shining on the gates at the communications towers." My thanks to Josh for permission to post his very interesting photo here. I particularly like the strobe effect visible on some of the snowtrails particularly those on the left of the light source.

In the Mid-North local photographer and weather-chaser Jacob Elliott coming from Hallett walked up the Heysen Trail to the summit of Mt Bryan starting about 6am Friday morning and saw a few snowflakes on the way up (pers. comm.) This was an extreme snow-chase, given the windchill temperature would have been below zero most of the way and there was half a gale blowing and probably a full gale for some of the walk!

I'll repeat here Mark Dawson's Weatherzone post I quoted above so all the Mt Bryan reports I know about are in one place:
Markus (Mark Dawson) post #1271778 - 01/08/2014 10:19 AM Friday
Was at Hallett earlier on this morning to watch those couple of half decent cells come through. Found a spot where you can access with the car at 705m asl. First band produced lots of sleet, which was mostly intact, so snowflake level wasn't far above me, then in the second had a brief 15 second or so flurry of snowflakes, so certainly snowed in the area and on the summit, however precipitation was much too low for there to be any real settling that I could see. Didn't bother climbing given even the cells going through now would be unlikely to produce enough snow for it to be worthwhile. But yeah confirmed to at least 700m.

Meanwhile I (Miles Peachfield) reached Hallett from Adelaide about 330am Friday morning and waited there for a while and then drove onto the Hallett - Mt Bryan East gravel road and parked just below the highest point on the road I could find and waited there for approx the two pre-sunrise hours and saw some showers of rain and tiny hail but no sleet or snowflakes. Sitting in my car in the darkness with the outside temperature a guestimated 2 degrees, and with the wind blowing vigorously it would have been below zero apparent temperature, I could have been in another world. I wondered how the possums and birds and kangaroos were coping in those rather extreme conditions for South Australia. We live in our dwellings and venture forth, but they live out there all the time.

Below is a link to the Buckland Park 512 km radar loop for 31/7/2014 5:40:00 am to 1/8/2014 3:30:00 pm. from The Weather Chaser's BoM radar archive - one of the most useful weather-related resources on the internet!

See : 512km Radar Loop for Adelaide (Buckland Park), 20:00 30/07/2014 to 06:00 01/08/2014 UTC




Enhanced infrared satellite images.

There's a 5mb gif file of hourly enhanced infrared satellite images from 130am Thursday to 1630pm Friday, sourced from Weatherzone. It may open and play in your browser or it may need saving and opening from your computer eg in Quicktime player. The individual images can be viewed in a separate file (it's about 14 mb) here (use your back button to return).

Surface charts.

Below are the Bureau of Meteorology's surface charts issued at 6 hourly intervals from 10 pm Wednesday 29th to 10pm Saturday 1st August 2014 eastern standard time.





























End of report.

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