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#896636 - 08/11/2010 22:48 Snow in Sydney
Loopy Radar Offline
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Registered: 05/10/2010
Posts: 880
Loc: Lismore NSW
I've heard that in approx 1908 that it snowed so much in George st.Sydney that snow men were made. Is there any info to support this claim? Personally I wouldn't be surprised if its true.


Edited by mr crankyhippy (08/11/2010 22:49)
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#898612 - 16/11/2010 22:36 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Loopy Radar]
BOM99 Offline
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Registered: 23/08/2004
Posts: 4645
Loc: Australia
I thought it was a bit earlier in the 1860's I think. But yes it is true that Sydney has had a few settled snowfalls in the distant past.

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#898620 - 16/11/2010 22:51 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: BOM99]
Canberra's Weather Offline
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Registered: 11/11/2005
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Loc: Canberra
How could that be possible? It's too warm in Sydney (even during the coldest of cold spells) to snow, at least down to sea level???¿¿¿???

I read somewhere that that one snowfall record in the 1800s is a mistaken observation for hail or something similar.
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#898626 - 16/11/2010 23:25 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Canberra's Weather]
Grant Offline
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Registered: 18/08/2002
Posts: 1523
Loc: Greta NSW, 70m ASL
Hasn't always been this warm CW, you've said that many a time yourself...
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#898637 - 17/11/2010 01:02 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Grant]
Dave-Wx Offline
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Registered: 27/08/2001
Posts: 4950
Loc: Heritage Park, Brisbane, QLD
Quote:
Sydney

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 O’clock 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 King’s Cross" - Freda McDowell, Thomas Nelson, 1967 )

There are also a few anecdotal accounts of snow being observed falling on the observation deck of Centrepoint Tower (305m above street level in central Sydney)


http://wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/Unusual_snow_events_in_Australia#Sydney

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#898641 - 17/11/2010 05:49 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Dave-Wx]
MascotWX Offline
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Registered: 12/11/2010
Posts: 86
I'm almost certain Bankstown airport reported snow for two observations in a row in 1986 either July or August, whether it was really snow or hail though is the question.

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#898661 - 17/11/2010 09:09 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: MascotWX]
kizz Offline
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Registered: 11/02/2002
Posts: 1991
Loc: Beacon Hill, Sydney 152m asl
July 25, 1986. Snow flakes were reported in many elevated areas in Sydney as a cold front swept through in the afternoon. I was listening to the radio when reports came in from Engadine, Turramurra etc. The temperature dropped to 7°C in the city by 3pm.
I don't remember any reports of snow settling or snow flakes in less elevated areas. I didn't see any and I was desperately looking for any snow having heard the reports come in!

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#898665 - 17/11/2010 09:16 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: MascotWX]
HumphreyBear Offline
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Registered: 31/01/2008
Posts: 4167
Loc: Southern Sydney
It would be remiss of me to pass up this topic smile.

I'm a bit undecided on this one. I've been searching through the NLA newspaper archives and have come across many mentions of 'snow' in various Sydney suburbs. Some of these are almost certainly small hail (an "isolated" fall in Ryde for example). The 1836 fall is the one most often cited and accounts of schoolboys (at Rose Bay no less) merrily throwing snowballs sound unbelievable in the context of the current climate. Obviously, we can't access atmospheric data for this event, so analysis will never progress beyond anecdotal evidence. In my mind, this is likely a genuine snowfall as reports from numerous locations were documented. I'm ready to be convinced otherwise though.

Aside from 1836, a few non settling flurries fell on the upper north shore in 1965 which is believable given the airmass. 1986 was also cold, but seeing as Bankstown is close to sea level this was likely graupel/sago at best. Hopefully this next decade will bring another mega cold outbreak, we can only hope.

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#898670 - 17/11/2010 10:33 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: HumphreyBear]
DaveM Offline
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Registered: 21/05/2001
Posts: 10132
Loc: Bathurst NSW about 700 m asl
Given that I have personally seen snow in heavy showers (In Tassie & recently in Bathurst) up to 6 or 7 degrees, I believe it is quite likely that the right conditions could occur on rare occasions.

Also, re the above statement, I am a snow freak and spent lots of time being in and watching snow fall, so the snow at 6 degrees was quite real and not some uninformed observation like we often see. smile

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#898676 - 17/11/2010 11:09 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: DaveM]
HumphreyBear Offline
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Registered: 31/01/2008
Posts: 4167
Loc: Southern Sydney
There is usually very little moisture in the Sydney Basin in a classical SW'ly setup, so for precip to occur we need an extremely strong system. However if precip does survive the trip, it could well fall as snow at high temperatures as the airmass dries out.

If the change is more S'ly, then moisture would be ample however temps would then be too warm as the airmass is maritime. So yes, you really need a freak SW'ly change to have any chance of even a flurry in the Basin.

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#898709 - 17/11/2010 13:32 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: HumphreyBear]
DaveM Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 21/05/2001
Posts: 10132
Loc: Bathurst NSW about 700 m asl
Agree 100% and I guess that's why we have so few observations in Sydney. It would need to be a perfect convergence and it surely could only happen in a very short time span. It's really an exaggeration of the problem here in the CT's, it usually only gets cold enough for snow as the air is quickly drying out with the SW wind. BUT if you can get one or two showers to remain strong enough it might happen.

Despite all the apparent warming since the early 1900's, I think it is still possible too although not particularly likely.

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#898732 - 17/11/2010 15:59 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: DaveM]
Crash Offline
Cloud Gazer

Registered: 23/04/2008
Posts: 1
Loc: Inner West, Sydney
Blizzard's web-page has a good record of snow events in and around Sydney:

NSW non alpine snow fall events 1808 to 2010

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#898757 - 17/11/2010 19:18 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Crash]
ozthunder Offline
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Registered: 23/09/2001
Posts: 3132
Loc: Mt Warrigal, NSW, Australia
I am over 50 and have been a keen weather observer all my life that has been lived in around Wollongong.

I have not seen a single snow flake at sea level.

The lowest fall that I would credence too is a fall at the old Waterfall tollgates when the F6 was a tollway, around 1980's some time. That still would have been at least 200m above sea level.

I do however believe the 1800's Sydney report - too many folk in those days would be from England and know what real snow looks like as opposed to hail.
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#898794 - 17/11/2010 22:20 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: ozthunder]
Dave-Wx Offline
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Registered: 27/08/2001
Posts: 4950
Loc: Heritage Park, Brisbane, QLD
Originally Posted By: ozthunder
I do however believe the 1800's Sydney report - too many folk in those days would be from England and know what real snow looks like as opposed to hail.


Exactly my thoughts when I was reading about the 1836 report...far too early in our history for your average 'Australian' to mistake small hail for snow (as often happens today)

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#898807 - 17/11/2010 23:22 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Dave-Wx]
Canberra's Weather Offline
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Registered: 11/11/2005
Posts: 1141
Loc: Canberra
It is extraordinary that snow can ever make it to sea level along coastal Sydney whether it be 1836 or the 21st Century!
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#898811 - 17/11/2010 23:35 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Canberra's Weather]
MascotWX Offline
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Registered: 12/11/2010
Posts: 86
Originally Posted By: Canberra's Weather
It is extraordinary that snow can ever make it to sea level along coastal Sydney whether it be 1836 or the 21st Century!


I cannot think of any way Sydney could even see a fluke snowfall, many areas in the northern hemisphere at similar latitude in China, southern Europe, or the U.S. can manage it but thats because they have enough landmass to work with upstream where the cold air does not modify. I guess there is the possibility of a 1 in 5,000 year event where accumulating snow could happen here but its hard to envision the setup that would be needed.

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#898812 - 17/11/2010 23:55 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Canberra's Weather]
Surly Bond Offline
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Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2114
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
I was in Canberra for a substantial unseasonable snowfall on the plains in 1965 or 1966.
Looking at Blizzard's list, I guess it was the 12/11/65 event. Two other events of uncertain date in the list could also have been this same event.
Does anyone have better information?
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#898831 - 18/11/2010 07:31 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Surly Bond]
BOM99 Offline
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Registered: 23/08/2004
Posts: 4645
Loc: Australia
Surly, these were the temps from Bathurst Ag station at that time you mention.
19651111 10.5 (max)
19651112 3.3 (min)
That agrees well with readings in 1986 which were 4.0 to 10.0 around 20/11/1986 when it snowed around Bathurst. In 2008 Bathurst had 11.8 max during the surrounding snowfall. So it does look likely that there was also a November snowfall in 1965 along the tablelands.

Yes it is amazing to think that Sydney had 38F with snow falling in a SW wind in 1936, would have been increadible on the CT's.


Edited by snowmi (18/11/2010 07:33)

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#898848 - 18/11/2010 09:16 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: BOM99]
Loopy Radar Offline
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Registered: 05/10/2010
Posts: 880
Loc: Lismore NSW
In 1982 it snowed down to sea level as far north at Moruya, but was a dry change with very brief precipitation. My brother in law was working in Hornsby same day and there was a light flurry. And I presume it was the same change when snow fell on Mt Nardi near Nimbin. But once I found out that it is about 900m above sea level I was not so surprised.
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#898855 - 18/11/2010 09:30 Re: Snow in Sydney [Re: Loopy Radar]
DaveM Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 21/05/2001
Posts: 10132
Loc: Bathurst NSW about 700 m asl
Surly - in 1968 (I think) there was decent snow well north in NSW, I have seen many pictures of snow in the Quirindi township and surrounds (about 350 to 400 metres asl). Accumulations were about 2cm from memory.

I think that change brought snow to many low elevation areas throughout NSW (even Forbes? I think)

I also saw snow fall there in town (not settle) in uuummm 75 or 76?

Quirindi is a fair way north so lower levels are possible further south.

So on rare occasions things can come together. Especially if we remember that even at 6 or 7 degrees, you can get flurries of snow in the right conditions.

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