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Ski resorts recovering nicely after early-week snow loss

Ben Domensino, Thursday August 17, 2017 - 13:59 AEST

Australia's ski resorts will be looking good this weekend despite heavy rain eroding the natural snow base earlier in the week.

A mix of warm air and moisture on Tuesday lead to heavy rain and the most significant snowmelt the alps have seen since the start of July. Alpine rivers were bulging by Wednesday as they struggled to cope with the sudden inflow of rain and snowmelt.

Perisher Valley and Thredbo both picked up more than 100mm of rain during Tuesday and Wednesday morning before it became cold enough for snow. In Victoria, around 70-90mm of rain was recorded at Falls Creek and Mount Buller.

Snowy Hydro recorded a natural snow depth of 168.3cm at Spencer's Creek on Tuesday this week, representing a 15cm loss of snow from last Thursday. It is likely that this natural snow depth had dropped even more by Wednesday morning due to the rain and warm air.

Fortunately for the ski resorts - which enjoyed six consecutive weeks of net snow gain between the start of July and last Thursday - this week's snow loss was short-lived.

Rain started falling as snow at most resorts on Wednesday and temperatures will get even colder during the next 36 hours. As a result, snow will blanket the alpine ski slopes during the lead-up to the weekend.

As of this morning, about 10-20cm of new snow had fallen on the higher slopes of the alps and another 30-50cm is likely to accumulate during the next two days, progressively lowering down the mountains as colder air arrives.

While it will be windy today and on Friday, conditions will ease on Saturday as the front moves out into the Tasman Sea. Sunday will see bluebird conditions return to the alps underneath a high pressure system, with plenty of fresh snow sitting on the ground. This will be an ideal day to go skiing and snowboarding.

The air will be cold enough for snow to settle in sub-alpine areas on Friday, including the Central Tablelands of NSW.

Snow could reach as low as 600m above sea level in Victoria and 300 metres in Tasmania as the coldest air arrives on Friday night.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

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