8 May 2023

It's snow joke: cold front brings flurries of snow and hail to the ACT and surroundings

| Lizzie Waymouth
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Snowy roadside in the Brindabellas

More than 10 cm of snowfall was recorded in the Brindabellas on Sunday. Photo: ACT Weather Watch Twitter.

Canberra experienced its coldest May day in 23 years on Sunday (7 May), with a cold front bringing snow and hail to some parts of the ACT and NSW over the weekend.

Temperatures dropped to single digits across the region over the weekend, with Sunday’s high of 7.8 degrees Celcius in Canberra making it the coldest day of 2023 so far.

Friday and Saturday reached lows of -2.2 degrees and -1.3 degrees, respectively – in comparison, the mean minimum temperature for May stands at 2.5 degrees, according to BOM figures.

Across NSW, temperatures were between 2 and 5 degrees below average, and some locations in the Snowy/Monaro countries also saw their coldest May day on record on Sunday.

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While it was a miserable rainy day for parts of Canberra, a hailstorm brought a surprise dusting of white to Belconnen – and while it wasn’t really snow, that didn’t stop some of the locals from enjoying the winter wonderland, building snowmen and cracking out the skis.

“A cold snap on Sunday in the wake of a cold front brought widespread small hail to Belconnen in the ACT and snow to low levels,” a BOM spokesperson told Region.

However, this isn’t out of the ordinary and may not be a sign of things to come.

“Although Sunday’s cold snap was the first significant one this year, early snowfalls are not unusual, including in May, and they are not a good predictor of seasonal snow conditions,” the spokesperson said.

Further out of the capital, meanwhile, a flurry of snow was recorded across the mountains and hills.

More than 10 cm of snow fell in the Alps and Brindabellas, and there was a dusting of snow in other lower parts of southern NSW and on the central ranges.

“Interestingly, the eastern side of the ranges, including Robertson and Macquarie Pass, also had decent snow with the low on the eastern side. Snow level was lower than usual with this setup,” the BOM spokesperson noted.

Perisher and Thredbo ski resorts also welcomed the snowfall.

“Blizzard conditions throughout the weekend brought lots more early season snowfall and the temperature on Saturday night was cold enough to kick start our snowmaking operations for this winter,” Thredbo ski resort posted on Monday morning.

“The snow kept falling all the way down to the village on Sunday and there are no signs of this cold front going anywhere yet. There are more snow and snowmaking conditions in the forecast for the coming days with temperatures set to drop as low as minus seven today.”

Temperatures are expected to return to average from tomorrow (9 May), with cold and frosty mornings set to remain as a reminder we are well and truly entering winter.

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BOM forecasts widespread frost in eastern NSW on Tuesday morning before a dry, sunny day, while morning frost is forecast for much of the week in Canberra.

The Bureau forecasts mostly dry and sunny conditions in the capital this week, with low to no chance of rain between Monday and Friday – so Belconnen residents should be able to rest easy they won’t be caught in another hailstorm for now.

For those wondering if we should be expecting a snowy winter, BOM says: “For the coming winter, the Bureau is forecasting drier and warmer conditions. Although drier conditions mean less likelihood of natural snow, there will also be less likelihood of snow being washed away by rain and more chance of long-lived snow on the ground under clear skies.”

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My QLD relatives think it snows in Canberra and I have an Aunty that says things like “you don’t need a hat and sunglasses in Canberra because you don’t get a lot of sun.” Even after this recent experience I can honestly say, it doesn’t snow in Canberra as in I’ve never built a Snowman in my yard, had a snow ball fight or gone snowboarding in Wanniassa Hills. LOL 🤣 Compared to where my dad is from in the US where they get blizzards and snowed-in, this is nothing.

Wow it must have been cold on your perch last night, CR. Mind you I imagine you generated quite a lot of heat, down in Tuggeranong, squawking about a single point in time temperature.

It’s truly sad you don’t understand the difference between climate and weather. Nevertheless, keep on squawking – I’m sure it’s entertaining for the other denialist parrots.

Capital Retro8:24 am 09 May 23

It appears that Tuggeranong was the coldest place in Australia overnight so congratulations must go to the ACT GreenLab government for winning the war against global warming.

Now, can we please go back to coal fired electricity because we need more carbon to avert another ice age.

Capital Retro3:27 pm 08 May 23

From ABC News: “It was particularly cool in the state’s south-east, with some towns breaking May temperature records.

Cooma reached 2.7C on Sunday, its coldest May maximum on record, while Canberra peaked at just 7.8C, its coldest May day in more than 20 years.”

Seems like normal to me.

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