Back to home page .......... Forward to 2015 August 11-12th : Mt Bryan summit ... snow showers and ... carpet.

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


On Saturday July 11th 2015 snow was observed 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 videos and/or photos. These included the Heysen Trail up to and on the summit of Mt Bryan (from the western side), 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. I've documented these reports further down the page here Some videos, photos and reports .

Rating on minimum 1 to maximum 10 scale: 5½

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.

End of summary

The Bureau of Meteorology in late July 2015 published on its website an illustrated report or article called "A significant low-level snow event across eastern Australia". The report is brief but provides a very useful overall summary of a July 11th to 17th snow event across eastern Australia.

South Australia led off the proceedings on July 11th with snow reported from the Mt Lofty district and more widely on some high country of the Mid-North.

The BoM report says:
"South Australia received the first snow from this very extensive eastern Australian snow event, as pools of very cold air moved northwards and crossed the South Australian coast."
"A sequence of cold fronts affects eastern Australia
After a mild start to winter 2015, the morning of 11 July saw the first of a sequence of strong cold fronts to affect eastern Australia (Figure 1). The first front brought early morning snow down to approximately 500 m in the ranges east of Adelaide and in the mid-north of South Australia. Light snow was reported as settling in the higher parts of the Mount Lofty ranges and further north around Hallett and Burra, and around Mount Remarkable in the southern Flinders Ranges."
{end of quote}

And further: "The period from 11 to 17 July 2015 saw a sequence of strong cold fronts affect eastern Australia. The most significant feature of this sequence was the occurrence of widespread snow outside of the Alpine region of southeastern Australia, extending along the Great Dividing Range from west of Sydney to the Granite Belt in southern Queensland. While few notable temperature extremes were observed during the period, the extent and depth of snow was remarkable by recent decades and resulted in disruptions at several major centres."

If the above link to the BoM report breaks try this link and when it opens in your browser click on it to see it full size.

Here's a link to an animated gif file of BoM's mean sea level pressure charts from 10am EST 9th to 10pm EST 12th July 2015 (source BoM Analysis Chart Archive). If it doesn't play when you click on the link, try right-clicking on the link and saving the file and opening it in one of your players.

To examine other BoM charts for the period at various levels of the atmosphere, go to BoM's Analysis Chart Archive.

The Bureau of Meteorology posted the image below on Twitter on the day before the snow fell in SA.
"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 5:08 PM - 10 Jul 2015 "

Now for two radar loops.

Below: BoM Adelaide (Buckland Park) Radar Loop - 256 km Rain Rate - IDR642
South Australian CST 810pm on 10th July to 1200pm midnight on 12th July 2015. CST (eg Adelaide time in winter) is half an hour behind EST (eg Sydney time in winter) and CST is 9 and a 1/2 hours ahead of UTC/GMT.) The source of both radar loops below is The Weather Chaser website. See : 256km Radar Loop for Adelaide (Buckland Park), 11:00 10/07/2015 to 03:00 12/07/2015 UTC

Below: BoM Adelaide (Buckland Park) Radar Loop - 512 km Rain Rate - IDR641
South Australian CST 810pm on 10th July to 1200pm midnight on 12th July 2015.

See : 512km Radar Loop for Adelaide (Buckland Park), 11:00 10/07/2015 to 03:00 12/07/2015 UTC

Now for links to two hour by hour sequences of infrared satellite images.

This is a link to a gif file of infrared satpic images from about 1am to 4pm Saturday 11th July 2015 in 1 hour intervals. That should encompass the period when the snow fell except perhaps in the northern Flinders Ranges, Gammon Ranges and Freeling Heights where snow could have fallen after 4pm?? (I've seen no reports of snow falling in those areas). It should open and play in your default browser. If it won't play automatically in your browser try saving it and opening it in one of your players.

The source of the above IR satpics was the Brisbane Storm Chasers website 4km resolution infrared (IR) satellite imagery from MTSAT-1R for the Australian region, South Australian time CST 0103am Saturday 11th to 0403pm Saturday 11th. GIF file size 6 mb. I have striven to convert UTC time to local CST time correctly - not so easy at 3am in the morning.

Now this is the link to an hour by hour sequence of infrared satellite images for the three day period 9th - 11th July 2015 inclusive, using a gif file showing each image for one second. When the low is south of eastern South Australia, air comes up the west side of the low from far to the south and over south-eastern SA. The file should open in your default browser (providing it plays gif files) or you can play it in your Quicktime player. The size of the file is 25 mbs. The images were sourced from the Brisbane Storm Chasers website 4km resolution infrared (IR) satellite imagery from MTSAT-1R for the Australian region.

Some videos, photos and reports from snowchasers and observers in the field.

Readers may recall that on Saturday 28th June 2014 a group of members of the Friends of the Heysen Trail hiked to the summit of Mt Bryan from the western side encountering rain and hail and at times falling snow on the ascent, and when they reached the summit it was snowing and the summit was snow-covered!

Well, believe it or not, another group of walkers scored a bullseye by hiking up to the summit of Mt Bryan along the Heysen Trail from the western side on 11th July 2015 on a pre-planned walk, at times in falling snow and again the summit was snow-covered! There's more info on the group and links to their published photos below.

Adelaide Walkers; Joggers, Snow at Mt. Bryan Trip, July 11, 2015, 7 went, see:

slideshow of photos taken here or

choose from thumbnails of all the photos taken here

read posted post-trip comments by participants here ."

Snowchaser Mark Dawson drove along the Mt Bryan East Road which runs up 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 much of the action takes place in the second half so it's well worth watching it in full :-)

Below is a video I took showing falling snow and ?sleet, and excited visitors on Mt Lofty summit Saturday morning 11th July 2015. I suggest watching in fullscreen to best experience the atmosphere prevailing on the observation area. I was on the summit from about 630am to very approx 1030am. This snow and ?sleet shower lasted about ten minutes and tapered into rain mixed at times with what looked like sleet and perhaps some snowflakes for the next very approx ten minutes. There were no other snowshowers while I was there. There was some patchy hail lying on the ground prior to this snowshower which was picked up and inspected by many people. The wind while I was up there was much less than the half a gale I was expecting, which was fortunate as some in the assembled gathering had waited outside probably since before I arrived, the building being shut till I don't recall when but perhaps 8am. If there'd been the expected half a gale I suspect some of us would have hypothermiated. When I arrived at about 630am I was surprised to find the gate to the drive up to the summit open and many cars parked in the summit car parks. The earlier the gates to the summit are opened on potential snow mornings the better because once word gets out that it may snow or is snowing on Mt Lofty, cars flock to Mount Lofty Summit Road and parking is limited.

I filmed this video when the falling snow was probably about at its densest. As snowflakes are pale and generally as small as butterfly wings, the better the quality of video file the more clearly they are seen. Usually the better the quality of video file the more bytes per frame. Here are three options for this video.

21 MB mp4 file

11 MB mp4 file

Here's an embedded YouTube option:


I'm pondering the question of how snowy are the flakes. I'm inclined to think it wasn't purely light and fluffy snow flakes. I think at this time in the shower it was more likely a mix of some fluffy flakes and some flakes that were either sleety snow ie the flakes had been partially melted and refrozen on the way down, or they formed in the cloud above not as fluffy floating flakes but as ice flakes of some kind, in the same way that hail is composed of ice and not crystalline snowflakes. Adding to the difficulty of coming to a conclusion is that the flakes were small as snowflakes go.

I also took a video of the snow falling against a fairly dark background of native vegetation that surrounds much of the paved observation area. I was so preoccupied with getting a record of the falling flakes while the shower lasted that I didn't even think to examine the flakes on my jacket at this time. However I do have one observer's opinion. During the video below you can hear a man off-camera saying: "See how light and [unrecognised word] it is [pause] that's snow [long pause] only just."

27 MB mp4 file video

14 MB mp4 file video

7 MB mp4 file video

Here are two more videos I took.
9 MB mp4 file video

14 MB mp4 file video

Werner K and Sharyn went snowchasing on the ring-route roads around the Mt Bryan Range near Hallett in the Mid-North on Saturday morning 11th. He posted a message on the Weatherzone forums describing their encounters with sleet and snow, which I've copied with abbreviations here. The full post is on this page at the time of writing this report. (The page number 13 may change as time goes by). My thanks to Werner for permission to include three of his lovely photos of the falling snow below, and congratulations to Werner and Sharyn on a successful South Australian snowchase!
Re: SA - Cold - Storms/Showers - Snow - Front - Low 9th-13th July 2015 #1336017 - 19/07/2015 09:04 PM
Werner K wrote:
"... On Saturday morning we ... headed to Hallett. From there we first went to the start of the walk to Mt Bryan from the western side. ...

After experiencing nothing here, we went back through Hallett and on to the start of the eastern ascent walk via Mt Bryan East road ... taking note of the high spots in the road. When we arrived at the eastern side of Mt Bryan, we experienced some sleet.
From there we headed back to a 670m ASL spot (#3), the furthest one from Hallett. Here we had more sleet. Then we went to spot number 2, again at 670m ASL. It began to sleet, but then turned to that characteristic wafting of snowflakes. This continued on for about 10 minutes, during which time the back window of the van was covered in snow.

As there were no more showers visible, we decided to head off on our trip. We had travelled about 3-5km on the Hallett to Jamestown road, when a large dark bank of cloud was visible to our SW. We hotfooted it back to spot #3 ... . Shortly afterwards it began to snow again, more than previously at spot #2. It was falling quite solidly. It was incredible to see it being blasted up through a gully by the strong winds.

Sharyn was very happy to have experienced her first snow falling. ... "

"... these were taken on Banbury road to the north of Mt Bryan. Banbury Road runs principally in a NW-SE direction with either end joining onto Mt Bryan East Road."

Below: "Sharyn enjoying her first snowfall (at location #3)".

Below: "Individual snowflakes".

Kyle Smith took a video on the Barrier Highway of falling snow north of Hallett on 11th July 2015. It provides us with a good visual record of the unusually low level this snow fell to. To see this video in best quality, click on this link . It should open in your preferred browser window. Below is an embedded YouTube version of the file.


Josh Burton recorded the video embedded below on 11th "Snow falling on Mount Bryan East Road, east of Hallett at 12pm. Approx 650m ASL". You can watch the best quality original file (which doesn't come via You Tube processing) by clicking on this link on your firefox browser, or on this link on your explorer browser.


Noreen Arthur posted this video onto the internet on 11th of snow falling on a farm "...730 metres above sea level near Tarcowie" in the Mid-North, along with a brief and effective and amusing commentary. If that link doesn't work try this one

Kathy Hearn posted this video of falling snow on 11th "Snowing in the morchard hills". The Morchard Hills are close to Orroroo. If that link doesn't work try this one .

Heather Morgan posted this video of snow falling with horses about 5kms from Jamestown on 11th.

Kevin Kennewell posted this video of snow falling in Peterborough on 11th. If that link doesn't work try this one .

"DrCraig Ortolan" took this video and this one on 11th with the captions "Snowing Peterborough about 1:15 today" and "Snowing in my backyard earlier today". It's excellent footage and the first video is beautifully timed to include a passing goods train. The back fence is a darkish red which I've noticed in videos from other parts of the planet is a good background for videoing falling snow-flakes against. If those links don't work, try this video and this one.

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" .

If that link doesn't work, try this link - you may need to right-click on the link and then click on "save link as" to save the file so you can play it on one of the players in your computer.

There's an article including a few photos in the newspaper the Northern Argus:
Northern Argus
Saturday August 26, 2015
Snow falls in the Mid North at the weekend.
By Gabrielle Hall
July 15, 2015, 9 a.m."

The first sentence reads: "Snow was reported in areas around Jamestown, Hallett, Mount Bryan and Peterborough, with hail and sleet falling across many other parts of the region."

Now quoting from the rest of the article the relevant text for our purposes :
Bureau of Meteorology acting media and communications manager Roelof Hoebee said ... “The weekend’s cold weather and snow event was within the expectations for any one year on average in South Australia, and no new record low temperatures were set during the period,” Mr Hoebee said. ... “Snow was reported from several locations in the Mid North including Mt Bryan, Peterborough and Hallett, and flurries also occurred on Mount Lofty."

The BOM reports other recent snow events in South Australia included 1 August, 2014 (snow flurries on Mt Lofty and around Mt Bryan); 9 July, 2014 (extensive snow around Mt Bryan, also reports from Hallett and Burra); 28 June, 2014 (snow around Mt Bryan); and 20 July, 2013 (extensive reports of snow from the Mt Lofty/Crafers area, Murray Town, Hallett and Mt Remarkable).

Belalie North farmer Cameron Goodes said good falls of snow could be seen on his property about 13 kilometres north of Jamestown. “It snowed for about an hour and left a blanket of snow about 2 inches thick,” Mr Goodes said.

Jaime and Shaun Clark, from 5km north east of Jamestown, took their children out to see the spectacle also, heading to Brown’s Hill about 10km north east of the town. “We got up to Brown’s Hill and it was almost blizzard-like at one stage, sleet was coming in sideways and then all of a sudden it just started to float down and started snowing,” Mrs Clark said. ... Mr Clark said he had heard reports of snow along the Mannanarie Hills also, but rain soon after meant it did not last long. (end of quotes from the article).

There may be more photos and videos on the internet and if I come across any I'll add them or links to them in due course.

Miles Peachfield 26th August 2015.

Back to Top

End of report.