The Grasshopper – The Latest Snow Forecast
Australian Forecast Friday September 24 – Cold Weekend at Times
Valid Friday September 24 – Sunday September 26
We are getting nearer to the end of winter with the Spring Equinox yesterday and the major resorts operating through to October 3 or 4 although Thredbo is closing lifts this Sunday. It has been quite an eventful week around the Alps from winds and snow to earthquakes with some cold weather on the way thanks to a front due to arrive today. Cold air behind this front should see some wintery conditions over the weekend especially in Tasmania where strong winds and decent snow totals are possible down to very low levels. Most of the snow won’t quite make it up to the northeast of Victoria or the main Range of NSW but there will be some cold temperatures at times moving through the weekend.
The good news is the sun is set to come out for Sunday for those getting in some closing celebrations in Thredbo while the other resorts live to fight another day, with lifts spinning for another week.
Friday September 24
In Victoria expect a partly cloudy day with some small snow showers possible around the mountains and with the front moving overhead there is chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Strong westerly winds easing slightly in the evening. For NSW it is a similar story with snow less likely than Victoria, but winds slightly stronger northwesterlies in the morning easing through the afternoon. Totals 1-5cm
Saturday September 25
Medium chance of snow in Victoria with cold temperatures and strong southwest winds early, easing to moderate levels through the morning and afternoon. In NSW it’s not quite as cold as Victoria (or Tasmania) but still below zero with a small chance of some precipitation. Quite strong westerly winds early, but easing quickly then remaining moderate through the day before turning southerly.
Sunday September 26
Cold temperatures before dawn will warm through the day with the sun coming out. Slightly more cloud expected around in Victoria than NSW. Winds light to moderate north/northwesterly.
Some late season winter temperatures expected in the Alps this weekend thanks to cold air coming up out of the Bight, pictured behind the cold front in today’s synoptic image. Unfortunately it is not expected to amount to much in terms of snow. With some locations warming during the day and cooling significantly at night we will probably see a melt-freeze crust around early but that should soften up during the day.
Only 10 days to go in the season for most resorts and it’s the last weekend for lift-assisted turns so enjoy it if you can head to the resorts. Sunday is looking like the pick as the sun returns and looks to stay out for the beginning of next week.
New Zealand Forecast Friday September 24 – Spring Storm on the Way
Valid Friday September 24 – Sunday September 26
Some light precipitation is expected around the south today and is expected to get much heavier in parts over the weekend. A system of fronts moving over Victoria right now should move across the Tasman and bring precipitation with good chances of snow in places across the South Island. The temperatures are predicted to be a little high in some places so we may see rain in parts, but it is Spring and with the days getting longer after the Spring Equinox yesterday we can’t be too upset with some rain around lower levels.
Friday September 24
Ruapehu: Some morning cloud before the sun comes out with moderate southwesterlies easing throughout the day. Should be a nice day.
South Island: A fine but windy day ahead for Canterbury with strong northwesterlies easing slightly in the afternoon before strengthening again ahead of the evening, reaching very strong levels. A partly cloudy day expected for the Southern Lakes with moderate to strong northwest winds. The chance of some snow heading into the late evening, falling either side of midnight.
Saturday September 25
Ruapehu: Partly cloudy with light westerlies winds early, strengthening throughout the day and evening to moderate northwesterlies. Chance of some late flurries in the evening.
South Island: For Canterbury very strong winds possible, blowing a severe gale about the peaks. Precipitation is expected through the day with some rain mixed in at lower elevations. Snow totals 10-25+cm.
For the Southern Lakes good precipitation forecasted but expecting a mixture of rain and snow. Northwest winds, very strong at times, easing through the evening. Possible chance of a thunderstorm. Totals 8-20+cm.
Sunday September 26
Ruapehu: A cloudy day with some precipitation expected. The freezing level is expected to lower to around 1500m later but we could see rain before then, heaviest through the middle of the day. Snow totals 5-15cm.
South Island: Moderate to strong winds early weakening slightly and turning southwesterly. Good chance of precipitation in the afternoon/early evening. Totals 6-18cm.
Around the Southern Lakes winds easing through the morning to light levels, with cloud expected to clear.
Looking ahead over next week there is some sun on the way over the early part of next week thanks to some high pressure moving in which should offer some nice spring days. No significant precipitation is in the forecast until Sunday, so we will wait and see what eventuates over the next weekend.
So, there is a lot happening this weekend with possibly large snow totals mixed in with some rain and strong winds possibly to severe gale force strength at times in parts of Canterbury. Take care if travelling through alpine regions.
Weekly Japanese Forecast – A mix of sunshine and light snow, but an intense low on Tuesday brings heavy rain & snow.
Valid Thursday 25th February – Thursday 4th March
The rollercoaster ride of the last couple of weeks is starting to get bumpier as we roll into spring. Weather systems are becoming more mobile, providing big climbs and steep drop-offs in temperature and weather.
This week in particular we are seeing a greater influence of high-pressure systems, three to be precise, providing plenty of sunshine and mostly light snowfall. We’re lucky this weekend as we narrowly avoid the ravages of a Pacific low, which should stay well offshore.
Tuesday and early Wednesday, however, will provide the most entertainment in terms of weather this week. An intense low will bring a short and sharp downpour of both rain and snow. Snow totals could be quite large on Hokkaido, possibly 30-50cm, while Honshu may cop a tidy 15-25cm.
ECMWF 10-day snow accumulations. Source: windy.com
A high passes over Honshu today, breaking up cloud cover to let some sunshine in. A chilly W-NW wind over Hokkaido will see light snowfalls there, mostly this morning and evening.
On Friday, a cold front sweeping south will bring a period of light snowfall to northern Honshu before dawn, then flurries to central Honshu during the morning and afternoon. Meanwhile, cold W-NW winds will continue to push light snow showers over Hokkaido.
Count your lucky stars, because this weekend we narrowly avoid a Pacific low, which earlier model runs had running amok over Honshu. Instead, the low stays well offshore, and a cold northerly flow brings light snowfall to much of the country during the first half of Saturday.
Skies will then clear during the latter half of Saturday before another high passes over Honshu during Sunday, bringing beautiful, clear sunny skies. However, temperatures will start to rise, while cloud and warm SW winds build over Hokkaido later in the day.
Temperatures will really soar during Monday as warm S-SW winds get going on the backside of the high. Cloud will start to increase over the country during the second half of the day and we may see a mix of rain+snow cropping up over Hokkaido later.
Tuesday will be rather ugly, as an intense low quickly crosses the Sea of Japan to passes over northern Honshu. Those warm southerly winds will blow a gale as the low approaches, with a period of heavy rainfall (falling as a mix of rain+snow on Hokkaido) just before cold northerlies hit sometime during the second half of the day, dumping a heavy load of snow.
The snowfall will be short-lived, however, and skies will part yet again for more sunshine during the latter half of Wednesday and next Thursday as another high passes over the country.
Next weekend may hold more light snowfalls with the passage of a weak cold front. Then models pick another intense, rapidly moving storm to affect the country next Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing a downpour of rain followed by a dump of snow, all in quick succession.
Although snowfalls rapidly taper off during spring, the season as whole looks to be less conducive for snowfall than usual, so we can expect average or below snowfall for this time of year.
That’s all from me guys and gals, this the last forecast for the Japanese season. It has been a great season in terms of snowfall and snow quality, above average for sure, despite travel restrictions and all. Hopefully we’ll all be back on Japan’s slopes next season. The southern hemisphere’s snow season is a little over three months away; we’ll be amongst it before you know it! Until then, enjoy spring or autumn wherever you are. Ja ne!
Weekly North America Forecast – Deep blower pow for most, but patient Sierras to reap the biggest reward
Valid Thursday 12th March to Thursday 19th March
This is it folks, my last forecast for the North American season. And what a way to sign off from an exceptional season; there is so much snow falling this week it was a real challenge putting it into words.
Significant low pressure stewing over the states will see an icy airmass descend southwards, providing deep blower powder for most. The big news, however, is the 60-120cm+ that is expected to fall in the Sierras. They say that a quiet winter will bring a busy spring, and that certainly looks to be the case this season.
Snow accumulations of 25-50cm+ can be found throughout the Rockies and Cascades, while the Coast Mountains of Canada will take a well-deserved breather with just a sprinkling of a few centimetres.
Thursday – Sunday
Low pressure boils up over states during the next few days. This drags a cold arctic airmass from the icy interior down over Canada, and into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Super fluffy, feather-like snow will follow suit.
Skies will mostly clear over these northern areas this weekend, giving you that amazing crispy winter feeling with powder to shred, but the snow will keep coming down over southern Idaho, Montana and Wyoming during Sunday and into Monday as this area marks the boundary between the icy easterly airstream, and warm moist southerlies to the south.
Sucked in by the low pressure, these warm, moist southerlies will dump snow over the southern Rockies during Friday night into Saturday. Snow accumulations will be around 15-30cm+, so a fairly decent dump indeed, although not as light and fluffy as we’re used to.
Meanwhile, a sneaky low will tip-toe down the west coast, wrapping itself in that same icy airmass from the Arctic. High quality snow will spread down the Cascades and into the Sierras during Friday. Heavy snowfalls will shift from the Cascades to the Sierras during Saturday as the low continues south, and will continue through Sunday.
Monday – next Thursday
As skies clear up in most other places during Monday, it’ll continue to dump in the Sierras. The eastern ranges of the Colorado will however, see some more snow late Monday.
The sneaky low will snoop farther inland from Tuesday onwards. Snow will become less widespread and button off in the Sierras, although not clear completely, while spreading inland to the Rockies south of Southern Idaho-Montana with some moderate-heavy falls expected.
ECMWF model 10-day snow accumulations. Source: windy.com
That’s all from me for North America this season. I won’t be putting my feet up for long however, because the Southern Hemisphere is starting to chill off, and you know what that means!
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Who is The Grasshopper ?
The Grasshopper. Some say he hatched one summer on a Himalayan plateau. As cold Autumn winds set in, he stumbled upon a scrap of goretex shed by some unfortunate climber and turned it into the smallest snowsuit ever. Then he strapped himself into a nearby leaf and carved his way down the mountains, hitching a ride with some hikers back to civilisation.
Now Mountainwatch’s resident meteorology sensei, this season we can expect a lot from the little critter. His beloved monthly outlooks across Australia and New Zealand over the southern hemisphere winter are being replaced with outlooks for both Japan and North America over November and December leading into the northern hemisphere winter. From there, the little critter will go into overdrive producing weekly forecasts for Japan and North America from December through to March. No doubt he’ll be run off his feet, so it’s a good thing he has six.
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