16 November 2022

Snow in mid-November? What really fell over the Canberra region during latest cold snap

| Claire Fenwicke
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Hail on flower beds

Many Canberrans were led to believe snow fell across the capital, but it’s actually a form of hail called ‘graupel’. Photo: Merren Furness, Facebook.

It’s been bitterly cold in Canberra and the surrounds for the last month of spring, with some convinced sleet or snow fell this morning.

But according to Weatherzone meteorologist Jess Miskelly, it was actually something else.

Graupel, a very close cousin to snow, is what we saw fall across Canberra and the surrounding region on Wednesday (16 November).

“When snow forms, it comes together as flakes, whereas hail and graupel are more like pellets,” Ms Miskelly said.

“So while it can appear like snow, it’s not flakes. It’s way different.”

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Graupel is a type of hail caused by supercooled water droplets in the atmosphere, which freeze onto snow crystals suspended in the air.

Despite being frozen pellets, they can be quite soft, which also leads to confusion with snow.

While graupel fell in most parts of Canberra, higher elevations saw snow. Photo: Royal Arms Guesthouse Nimmibatel, Facebook.

The atmosphere also plays a role.

“Snow forms in a cold atmosphere, so depending on how cold that’s measured to be tells you the expected elevation it could fall to,” Ms Miskelly said.

“But obviously, we can get hail in summer, so that’s formed under completely different circumstances.”

The snow elevation level for Wednesday was predicted at 1000 metres; however, most Canberra suburbs sit between about 550 and 650 metres above sea level.

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Even though Canberra’s official temperature was just 6.6 degrees at 11 am – when the heaviest graupel was recorded – that’s just not cold enough for snow.

Surrounding areas such as Cooma and Nimmibatel are definitely at an elevation where snow fell.

Canberra’s average November maximum is 22.7 degrees, making today’s forecast top of 15 degrees well below average.

Cold fronts aren’t out of the ordinary for this time of year. The coldest November day the capital shivered through was on 11 November 1965 when the mercury hit just 9.1 degrees.

“The cold fronts are managing to get a long way north,” she said.

“We sometimes get the cold air, but there’s so much moisture as well.”

While things are expected to warm up over the weekend, another wintry snap is possible.

“It looks like a similar set-up come Monday,” Ms Miskelly said.

So watch this space.

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Tonga undersea volcano eruption, combined with el nina and the Southern Annular Mode

Hilarious to see people suggesting that climate change is caused by humans, when ice ages have come and gone before humans even evolved.

There have been previous naturally caused climatic events so all future climatic events must also be naturally caused.

Is that really what you’re trying to sell? The depth of logical thinking is astounding.

Hilarious to see the people here suggesting a weather event means that climate change can’t be real.

Apparently they don’t understand the difference between climate and weather along with how climate change can lead to more extreme weather fluctuations of all types.

Also interesting that they seem to be the first people to claim other extreme weather events like the extended heatwaves weve seen in the last decade and natural disasters like bushfires and floods also can’t be linked to climate change.

I believe in climate change Chewy. I just don’t believe in man made climate change

That’s fine Gary,
The scientific evidence disagrees.

What scientific evidence are you choosing Chewy? Even the climate change “experts” cant get their stories straight.

There must be something wrong with the weather because it continually fails to comply with climate change models. We should join Extinction Rebellion and glue ourselves to the Bureau of Meteorology.

When snow does fall in Canberra it tends to be in late spring -I remember a year when the whole valley where I live was covered in snow and I think that was in November.I believe Hobart has experienced snow on Christmas day and had a white Christmas!

How about the global warming experts explain this one?

CR – I think you’ll find that the climate change (formerly known as global warming) cult leader, Tim Flannery, said it (amongst other ridiculous things which he’s been totally incorrect or lied about).

Apparently he’s reared his head again on social media recently and is demanding we pay developing countries (including islands in the Pacific) money for all the bad things we’ve done to the environment since the start of Industrial Revolution. Ridiculous!

And for all the climate change cult followers who will no doubt give it to me – here’s a short, but factual, video about why there is more rainfall than usual in this La Niña cycle.


They will have an answer for that one to cover all bases!I think it’s a great tragedy that more big dams weren’t built decades ago to harvest the vast quantity of water we have just received.Credit to the Barr government for having expanded our main dam the Cotter ten fold a decade and a half ago!

I agree with you there – the ACT Government did something good there.

I’d be surprised if Mr Barr deserves any credit for the Cotter dam upgrade. Probably a decision made by Mr Stanhope and his team in the noughties.

Capital Retro6:15 pm 16 Nov 22

Didn’t someone say years ago “it will never snow again”?

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