Natural snow depth takes a hit

Ben Domensino, 14 June 2019

Warm air and rain have taken a toll on Australia's natural snow depth during the last week.

June is always a fickle month of snow in Australia. Early-winter cold spells are often followed by periods of warmer weather at this time of year, causing the natural snow depth to fluctuate.

The temperature at Thredbo Top Station, Australia's highest weather station, stayed above zero degrees Celsius from Sunday last week until this Thursday morning. During this time, more than 70mm of precipitation was recorded at the site.

This mixture of warm air and rain caused snow on the ground to melt quickly.

The natural snow depth at Spencers Creek in NSW was 71.3cm during the first week of June. This week, it has dropped to just 32.1cm.

While a 40cm drop in one week is sad news for snow-lovers, it's impressive that there was even this much snow to lose so early in the season. It's also a noteworthy achievement that there's still over 30cm left on the ground in mid-June, after so much melt.

Snow depths measured near the middle of June in recent years have been considerably lower than the current depth:

  • June 13th, 2018 = 2.8cm
  • June 15th, 2017 = 10cm
  • June 16th, 2016 = 0cm
  • June 18th, 2015 = 0cm
  • June 12th, 2014 = 0cm
  • June 13th, 2013 = 0cm

Looking ahead, heavy snow looks unlikely during the next week thanks to a lack of strong cold fronts in southeastern Australia.