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#615404 - 27/12/2002 21:29 snow in sydney
jade emperor_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/12/2002
Posts: 34
Loc: Quakers Hill, NSW
Hi fellows,

Just a question. Could ya please tell me what it actually takes to have snow or sleet? I live in Quakers Hill and on it goes down to zero and at times below on winter mornings. I reckon the temperature's right. What's missing?

I lived in London couple of years ago and I remember it snowed when the temperature was about 4 degrees.

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#615405 - 27/12/2002 21:41 Re: snow in sydney
weathersmart Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 23/12/2002
Posts: 14
Loc: Sydney
Without addressing your query of "why", I have attached an account of actual snow on the ground in Sydney which occurred in July of 1836. Hope you find it interesting.

Cheers

Weathersmart

Snow in Sydney - 1836

Snow in Sydney is extremely rare. Since European settlement, there have been a few cases recorded of blowing snowflakes, but only 4 occurrences of snow on the ground in any real quantity. All these cases occurred during the icy winter of 1836.
T.A Browne (better known as Rolf Boldrewood, author of "Robbery Under Arms") kept weather observations during this period and noted that "the years 1836, 1837 and 1838 were years of drought, and in one of these years (1836) a remarkable thing happened. There was a fall of snow; we made snowballs at Enmore and enjoyed the usual schoolboy amusements therewith".
The Sydney Herald reported on the same incident headed "A Stranger"
"For the first time in the memory of the oldest inhabitants, snow fell in Sydney on the morning of Tuesday last. (27 June 1836)
About 7 Oclock in the morning, a drifting fall covered the streets nearly one inch in depth. Some of the "old hands" expressed a hope that their old acquaintances Messrs. Frost and Snow do not intend emigrating to NSW".

Reference: "Before Kings Cross" - Freda McDowell, Thomas Nelson, 1967

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#615406 - 27/12/2002 21:41 Re: snow in sydney
Cloudmaster_dup1 Offline
Weather Nerd

Registered: 15/10/2001
Posts: 5100
Loc: Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, NSW...
G'day Jade!

This wont answer your question, but it's some interesting information for you laugh

The only year it's ever been recorded to of snowed in the Sydney CBD was in 1836... It snowed twice that year, and no blizzard was caused.

The above statistic, only refers to the CBD. Other Sydney suburbs have recored snow in previous years... and in the 20th century wink

Cloudmaster :cheers:

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#615407 - 27/12/2002 21:42 Re: snow in sydney
Cloudmaster_dup1 Offline
Weather Nerd

Registered: 15/10/2001
Posts: 5100
Loc: Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, NSW...
What a coinsidence WN! :p laugh

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#615408 - 27/12/2002 21:55 Re: snow in sydney
pingtang Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 18/11/2001
Posts: 5525
Loc: Nowra, NSW
Hello Jade emperor,

It can easily get to 0C or below in western parts of Sydney.I think Richmond has managed to get down to 8C below zero on one occasion.
So wheres the snow then?
When you get tempertures like that,its often a clear and calm winters night.The temperature is right but there is no precipitation.If you want precipitation,then you need cloud.
Cloudy nights however are often alot warmer.You will be very lucky to get down to 5C on a rainy night in Sydney.So when you have a situation like that,its often too warm for snow.
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#615409 - 27/12/2002 22:52 Re: snow in sydney
anewts Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 21/08/2002
Posts: 3343
Loc: Forestville, NSW
it also is to do with altitude, with western sydney not very high, unlike the blue mountains in parts which wont get as cold as western sydney, but is located a lot higher than western sydney

Andrew

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#615410 - 28/12/2002 01:22 Re: snow in sydney
Overshoot Offline
Member

Registered: 19/08/2001
Posts: 2158
Loc: Wahroonga, North Shore, Sydney
Basically I reckon pingtang was spot on with why snow doesn't fall in Sydney, even though the western suburbs have a stack of nights below 0 degrees in any one winter. The only time it gets that cold is when it's clear and heat is able to radiate away from the ground. The cloud insulates the ground when it is present and hence prevents the temperature from dropping as much as it otherwise could. Clouds are like a thermos, their presence makes it cooler in the day and warmer at night (smaller diurnal range). So basically, you'll never get a cloudy (precipitation-baring) night below 0 degrees anywhere in the Sydney basin. Temperature inversions are also evident on many cold Sydney nights, which are not usually associated with frontal systems (freezing rain, now that's an interesting prospect! laugh ). That's why you want altitude with frontal systems, because you can't expect much help from an inversion (which would almost be as bad as it was good anyway).

My guess for snow in Sydney is a straight southerly airstream which would hopefully be fairly dry (and clear) to allow temps to fall. Hopefully some moisture can be picked up over the ocean and isolated heavy showers/post-frontal coldies can be generated (a SE airstream would be too cloudy IMO). I reckon on the synoptic, you'd have almost vertical isobars emanating from a deep polar low east of Tassie (that isn't cut off) with a following high pressure system to the immediate west. Most realistically, the front would be part of a SW change (dry) but would then stall as the low near Tassie stalled for some reason, leading to that vertical-type set up. The front would pass through Sydney and cut the temp down. It would need to be at night. It'd also need to be below +4 degrees, with thicknesses below 530 (snow possible at +4 degrees due to cold upper-atmosphere associated with this thickness and the wind and low pressure would mean no inversion of any sort). I think any prolonged rain periods would be unlikely to turn to snow throughout the course of a night.

But hey, I'm probably wrong. :p

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#615411 - 28/12/2002 02:25 Re: snow in sydney
Jorrit (Holland) Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/12/2002
Posts: 289
Loc: Ouderkerk (Netherlands)
A lot of course depends on the temperature high in the sky. I don't have exact dates orso, but a week ago it rained here with -1C. That was because thaw was setting in: Cold air is heavier then warm air, so the cold air sinks to groundlevel, keeping the bottom 100 meters of the atmosphere cold, while 100 m further above the temperatures are (far) above zero. Rain just falls there, freezing on the ground, giving freezing rain and trouble. However it can snow with 8C, when the air is very cold high above, and only the groundlevel is warm, but the warm layer is not too big so that gives the snow a chance to stay a flake instead of becoming a drop.
I know that one time it was snowing in Gibraltar, the UK-settlement south of Spain...well that IS very special. More special was however the fact, that the temperature at that moment was 16C! That's the highest temperature on record that snow was falling with...unbelieveble!
In Holland, snow sometimes falls with 7C or 8C (always in showers) , when northerly winds bring very cold air high in the atmosphere, but the sea north of us warms up the bottom meters of the atmosphere..

Regards,

Jorrit

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#615412 - 28/12/2002 07:34 Re: snow in sydney
Padi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 16/05/2002
Posts: 270
Loc: Liverpool UK
The UK gets very little frost due to such frequent cloud cover. There has to be a really clear high pressure system with calm winds or a very cold air feed for the temperature to fall below freezing here. I thiink we have had about 6 0r 7 nights with frost forming and only 2 with any notable frosting on the lawn.

However Sydney is very sunny and not that windy, so on a calm Winters night, the temperature can drop surprisingly low considering its latitude.

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#615413 - 28/12/2002 15:11 Re: snow in sydney
jade emperor_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/12/2002
Posts: 34
Loc: Quakers Hill, NSW
thanks fellow for the answers :p

fingers crossed .... perhaps this winter...after more than a hundred years, we could be throwing snow balls at each other smile but i do think it would have to be a somewhat freak winter. Sydney's winter average of 16 degrees in the day could pass for a coolish European summers day

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#615414 - 28/12/2002 15:29 Re: snow in sydney
TrenthamStormchasers Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 15/04/2001
Posts: 6258
Loc: Trentham 705m
I can remember sleet in St Mary's in the early 80's (1980 - 83) at about 10.15am - I was lucky enough to have playground duty on the oval laugh - strangely, no-one else wanted it!!!!!

That was the coldest I've ever felt in my life and that's taking into consideration the bittern northwesterlies of Canberra winters!! so I wonder what the windchill pfactor was for then......

Lovely.....

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#615415 - 28/12/2002 15:36 Re: snow in sydney
Matt Pearce Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 26/01/2001
Posts: 4404
Loc: Kariong, NSW
Hi guys

A deep S/SE flow with very low thicknesses would be required to get any hope of snow in the Sydney basin. Then just hope for a very heavy shower with its own downdraft cooling the surrounding air sufficiently for the snow to melt.

I do remember one day in the winter of 2001 when there was reported to be snow visible from the top of Centrepoint Tower. That day was bitter...did not get above 10C with frequent heavy showers and a wind that went straight through you.

Quite often, small hail falls in heavy winter showers in Sydney and this could be mistaken for snow. This is what is to blame for many of the reports of snow in Sydney that are around the place.

Matt

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#615416 - 28/12/2002 15:43 Re: snow in sydney
jade emperor_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/12/2002
Posts: 34
Loc: Quakers Hill, NSW
I first experienced snow fall about a decade ago in Innsbruck, Austria. The cold was really good and very funny too especially in public lavatories ... you guys know what I'm talking about... laugh

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#615417 - 28/12/2002 16:33 Re: snow in sydney
Overshoot Offline
Member

Registered: 19/08/2001
Posts: 2158
Loc: Wahroonga, North Shore, Sydney
It's snowed a few times in the 60's and then in the 80's again apparently in the northern suburbs.

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#615418 - 28/12/2002 17:34 Re: snow in sydney
pingtang Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 18/11/2001
Posts: 5525
Loc: Nowra, NSW
I remember one November day had a top of 10C around here in 1998.Most of the morning was about 6-7CDown here you may get cold temps like that once every three years in winter.To have a cold November day like that is pretty significant.

I know that Nerriga(40kms SW of Nowra),reported snow and there was some sleet in the early morning here.The cold temps were short lived,as the next day had 22C,and the day after that had 29C.
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RAIN YTD-
34mms

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#615419 - 29/12/2002 06:43 Re: snow in sydney
jade emperor_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/12/2002
Posts: 34
Loc: Quakers Hill, NSW
Hi Pingtang,

In Wollongong, I remember, I think it was back in 1997 ... it was pouring rain..and the temps were about 9 degrees...and there were reports of snow flakes on top of mount keira

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#615420 - 29/12/2002 09:58 Re: snow in sydney
Weathernut Offline
Member

Registered: 24/07/2002
Posts: 5207
Loc: Darwin, Northern Territory
Quote:
Originally posted by Cloudmaster:
What a coinsidence WN! :p laugh
Is there a Weathernerd yet. laugh laugh laugh :p

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#615421 - 29/12/2002 10:03 Re: snow in sydney
Cloudmaster_dup1 Offline
Weather Nerd

Registered: 15/10/2001
Posts: 5100
Loc: Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, NSW...
Yep. me! :wave:

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#615422 - 31/12/2002 11:09 Re: snow in sydney
Laurier Williams Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 01/02/2001
Posts: 2192
Loc: Millthorpe, 970m, Central W NS...
Most recent instance of snow falling (not settling) in the Sydney area is 3/4 May 1961 when a southerly polar outbreak brought snow right along the tablelands to the Queensland border. Falling snow was seen in several higher suburbs, and also from the 8th floor of the Unilever building in the CBD.
I've recently converted an article I wrote years ago on NSW snowfalls to pdf, and you might find some of the stuff in that interesting. There are also more snow links under the severe weather section at Australian Weather News .

:cheers: Laurier
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Caution: Any items linked to in this post may change and become irrelevant or expire over time. Use good meteorological practice and ALWAYS check date and time on charts before using them.

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#1446140 - 28/12/2017 17:01 Re: snow in sydney [Re: jade emperor_dup1]
James West Offline
Cloud Gazer

Registered: 20/11/2017
Posts: 4
HI Jade
I know your post is old, but the subject is not. Funny you should say Quakers Hill, because had you been there on the 21st of June 1972 you would have been just over the hill from a significant dump of snow. It was spread over about a square mile from around the Windsor road to Castlebrook cemetery and in a square leg all the way up to the top of Kellyville Ridge. The heaviest concentration was around where the Ettamogah Hotel and Mcdonalds now are. The remnants of the Lochinvar motel are still there, I believe. The bloke running the motel was up on the flat roof of the building shovelling the snow off. Stuff like that was hardly ever reported on the TV news in those days. I seem to remember it was reported in one of the local Hawkesbury papers. I saw the snow myself - passing motorists were building little snowmen on the bumpers of their cars. And it was snow - not graupel like we got in Elizabeth Bay once.

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