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    Heaviest snow in 5 years: Barrington Tops
    Tuesday, 28 August 2001

    Photo taken on the 28th near Tomalla

    Click here to see more photos.

    Heavy snowfalls in the last 36 hours has left the Barrington Tops and other mountain areas very white. The snowfalls started on Sunday (26th) evening after a cold front hit the Hunter in the afternoon. Rain fell at first, but quickly turned to snow on all ranges above 900-1000m. By Tuesday morning there was 20-25cm (average) of snow on the ground (drifts over 50cm) at Hunter Springs/Tomalla, which is at an elevation of approximately 1300m. The depth of snow was the deepest since the 19, August 1996. The roads to the higher elevations to the Tops (1400-1500m) were closed to all vehicles. The mountains surrounding Timor, Merriwa and Nundle all got snow, leaving them looking like the Snowy Mountains by this morning (28th).

    This type of event was very unique in that there was a combination of heavy rain in between periods of heavy snowfalls. This led to minor flash flooding from the Hunter River and its catchments. On Monday afternoon (27th) heavy rain set in on the Barrington Tops, even at elevations as high as 1300m. This resulted in a significant thaw of the fresh snow, but after a few hours of heavy rain, it quickly turned to snow again and left the area in a deeper cover of snow then what it was previously. The 24 hour period ending to 9am Tuesday, Hunter Springs reported a total of 99mm of precipitation. This fell as a mixture of heavy snow and rain.

    This event was brought on by a significant cold front that was interacting with a trough line. Because of the trough line and the cold front that followed, there were an outbreak of weak thunderstorms across the Hunter on Sunday afternoon. The cold front hit the Hunter at around 2pm dropping the temperature steadily for a few hours after. Snowfalls set in on the elevated areas overnight. By Monday morning the cold front had moved into the Tasman Sea. With the combination of the high sea surface temperatures, the trough line and the cold front, this led to a low developing off the South Coast of NSW (see chart on left).Analysis: 06z 27/8/01 A pool of cold air remained over Eastern NSW during this time. This resulted in local snowfalls on the elevated areas in the Southern Highlands, Central Tablelands, Hunter, Northwest Slopes and the Northern Tablelands. There were reports of up to 20cm of snow in the Southern Highlands and parts of the Northern Tablelands also. 

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    Friday, 28 July 2017
    © 2017 Tim Grugeon