Significant cold snap with low level snow NSW and Vic – 8 to 11 June 2021

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Weather models currently identify a significant cold outbreak for South East Australia during the period of 8 to 11 June 2021. Models show a cold front and later the development of a cut off low over South East Australia although the final exact position of the low is still difficult to determine at this stage.

On Tuesday, a cold front will cross the southern states that should bring a rain band across the inland. The cold air mass following the change is cold enough to allow snow to low levels. Forecasts are being made for snow as low as 600 to 700 metres within southern areas.

This system is expected to develop further as a cut off low that will allow cold air to move further north and with it, showers, small hail, sleet, low level snow falls and even gale force winds.

Snow is expected to fall across the higher areas of North East Victoria and Southern New South Wales. Further to this, the MET Eye models are suggesting that snow falls will occur around the Central Tablelands of New South Wales including Oberon and Orange by Wednesday and into Thursday. Models even suggest that snow will fall over higher elevations of the northern tablelands including towns such as Guyra, Glenn Innes, Walcha and Armidale.

While the ski resorts should receive significant falls, places like Oberon, Orange and possibly Lithgow in the Central Tablelands should receive some snowfall at times. Snow is even expected to fall close to Canberra but unlikely at this stage to fall within the Canberra City area. However, snow may still occur on Mt Ainslie and Black Mountain.

Models show a significant rain event from this with a rain band crossing the inland regions with at least 10 to 20 mm of rain to occur. However, over the longer run, higher rainfall totals are likely over the hilly regions of eastern Victoria grading to snow at higher elevations with as much as 100 mm falling.

For Sydney, a rain event is forecast from the event on Wednesday.

The primary concern for this event would be the cold and gale force winds, snow at higher elevations and issues of black ice on roads and threats to livestock such as sheep and cattle.

The models attached to the post shows the system that is expected to develop over coming days including snow forecasts, maximum temperatures and rainfall. However, as models develop further, there will be variations to final forecasts being made.

A succession of cold nights – May 15 to 21 2021 – NSW

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Following a succession of cold fronts across southern Australia, large areas of Victoria and New South Wales has recently experienced a succession of unusually cold nights for May. It appears that winter has arrived earlier than normal for 2021 as some of the minimum temperatures experienced are more likely to occur during June, July and into August than May.

The NASA Worldview image of Sunday May 16 2021 attached is showing extensive snow existing across the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales. Similar snowfalls have also occurred across the higher regions of North East Victoria as a result of the recent cold fronts.

Frosts have been common and mornings have been cold. Minimum night time temperatures have also been colder than normal across Western Sydney.

A review of several weather stations across the state of New South Wales has identified the following minimum night time temperatures which have occurred between the 15 and the 21 May 2021.

1 - Albury Airport - 16 May 2021 - Minus 1.0C.

2 - Armidale - Overnight minimums have fallen between minus 0.7C and minus 5C between the 15 and the 21 May with the coldest minimum being minus 5 on the 16/5/2021. Armidale is elevated at 980 metres above sea level and much of the town sits within a valley where cold air pools at night and hence it can be colder in town than on the summit of nearby surrounding hills.

3 - Bathurst - The coldest morning occurred on the 19/5/21 where minus 4.5C occurred. It also fell to minus 4.1C on the morning of the 16/5 and minus 4C on the morning of the 18/5.

4 - Braidwood - 16 and 19 May 2021 - Minus 3.7C occurred.

5 - Cabramurra - 16 May 2021 - Minus 4.1C occurred.

6 - Cooma Airport - 18 May 2021 - Minus 6.4C occurred, 19 May - Minus 5.9C occurred and 20 May - Minus 5.3C occurred.

7 - Dubbo - 16 May 2021 - Minus 2.5C occurred.

8 - Glenn Innes Airport - 17 May 2021 - Minus 7.5C occurred.

9 - Goulburn - 19 May 2021 - Minus 5.1C occurred.

10 - Lithgow - 16 May 2021 - Minus 4.2C occurred.

11 - Oberon - 17 and 19 May 2021 - Minus 3.6C occurred.

12 - Orange - 16 May 2021 - Minus 4.0 occurred.

13 - Perisha Valley - 16 May 2021 - Minus 9.4C occurred.

14 - Tenterfield 17 May 2021 - Minus 5.2C occurred.

The coldest minimums have occurred at towns that are elevated but within valleys including Armidale, Bathurst and Lithgow.

Even in Western Sydney very light early morning front has been observed in the western areas of Blacktown around Doonside.

The plots attached to this post are taken from the Bureau of Meteorology Water and the Land and each show the minimum temperatures and temperature anomalies that have occurred during the period.

North Indian Ocean – Tropical Cyclone Tauktae – 15 to 18 May 2021

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A look at the Worlds tropical cyclone tracks will reveal that the majority of all tropical storms form within certain ocean areas including the north west Pacific Ocean, an area of the west coast of Central America and Mexico, the tropical Atlantic Ocean north of the Equator including the Gulf of Mexico, the Western Pacific Ocean including areas within Australian waters and the tropical Indian Ocean within the southern hemisphere between Australia and Africa.

There is also another area where such storms can occur but are much less likely being the North Indian Ocean situated between India and the Arabian Peninsula. Occasionally a storm will form within this area and track towards the North West India / Southern coast of Pakistan but instances of such occurrence are relatively rare.

During the period 15 to the 18 May 2021 a significant tropical storm has formed within an area where tropical cyclones are generally rare. This storm was named Tropical Cyclone Tauktae which formed off the west coast of India then tracked northwards towards the north west coast of India and even threatened the south east coast of Pakistan. Landfall occurred between Porbandar and Mahuva (Gujarat State - India).

At peak intensity, this storm reached Category 4 on the Saffir Simpson Scale with peak wind gusts at the core of at least 115 knots (Approximately 213 km/h). This storm was supported by ocean waters within the range of 30 to 31C and atmospheric conditions were certainly favourable for supporting such a strong storm. Strong convection and thunderstorm cells were visible on satellite images especially to the south of the eye which supported the storm. This storm weakened just before commencing landfall over Gujarat State.

This storm has brought heavy rain especially around Saurashtra and numerous west coast localities were warned for heavy rain as the storm tracked northwards. Media reports suggests a significant impact onto the north west Indian coast with at least 26 fatalities mainly within coastal locations, flooding, heavy rain and intense wind gusts. It is believed that upwards of 200,000 residents were evacuated prior to the storm making landfall.

The images attached to this post are taken from Worldview and CIMSS. Information was also sought from the India Meteorological Department 17/5/2021 prior to the storm making landfall.