The way things are shaping up we might just end up seeing that old sign flick to green for 2013 sooner than we thought Image:: Camilla Stoddart
New Zealand Seasonal Snow Outlook | The Grasshopper
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Well I was wrong about one thing in last month’s first seasonal outlook of 2013, Some of the Canterbury fields got a tidy little dump from a south-easterly and Mt Hutt ended up with 20cm at the base and drifts of up to 1.5 m higher up, which is not something I saw happening. Having said that, I imagine the severe gale force north-westerlies that have blown over the last few days have taken a few bites out of that early season goodness and it’s easy to see the damage done on webcams.
Let me be clear that I don’t think this means anything for the season either way. Sometimes we hear the argument that early snow cools the ground to give future falls and snow-making a better chance of hanging around. While that might be true of something in mid-to-late May, it’s not as much of a factor for April snow.
The snow plough is half empty
I have to admit I’m still a sceptic on the Southern Lakes fields’ chances early on this season, because climate models are still pointing towards a tendency for higher pressure south of the country, forcing low pressure systems to cross through central New Zealand. That would mean the lower South Island gets more frequent easterlies and fewer big north-westerly fronts than normal. They’re going to have to get lucky with the one or two events they do get to avoid a similar fate to last season.
Much of Canterbury, on the other hand, has a potential get out of jail free card because they can also pick up decent snow on the south-easterly as lows skate through Cook Strait.
And the North Island: well, I always reckon you’ve just got to give that 2-metre base time to build. Ruapehu is going to catch the rain so we will get there gradually, but not until it gets cold enough for snow to the base. There’s always a few lean weekends trying to avoid rocks before you hit the good stuff mid to late season.
My advice for all of New Zealand this year, as always, is that the later in winter you can leave it the better your chances of hitting some good snow. If you book a holiday in early July then you’re flipping a coin.
That’s how I see it. If you’ve got better news then by all means get in touch and contradict me at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation via Facebook below.