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13 09, 2018

Dangerous Potential 24hrs Out From Life Threatening Florence Landfall

Issued 6:30PM Thursday September 13th 2018. Hurricane Florence has thankfully weakened significantly over the past 6-12 hours, but the life threatening risk is still massive in regards to catastrophic flooding and storm surge. Above image: Simulated Satellite via HWRF / Tropicaltidbits.

Over the past 12 hours or so, Florence has interacted with some unfavourable conditions that have allowed the system to thankfully weaken. It has significantly weakened from a Category 4, almost Category 5 beast, into a now Category 2 system. In saying that, the system is still likely to produce 110mph (175km/h) winds on landfall, with higher gusts likely. The issue was never about the wind though, thats just a side note with a system like this.

National Hurricane Center Official Forecast Track for Florence.

 

The big threat, has always been, and is still, the CATASTROPHIC FLOODING and EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM SURGE which are highly likely to cause a SIGNIFICANT risk to human and animal life. Residents are continuing to be ordered and pleaded to evacuate off the Coastline of both North Carolina and South Carolina. Why the system is still posing this horrific threat is because a ridge (as expected) has built to the North and West. This has helped cause the system to weaken, but its also expected to make the system slow down and even stall ON LANDFALL, and then cause Florence to hug the Coast as it tracks slowly South ALONG the Coast.

Rainfall totals (white >400mm) showing a MASSIVE flood potential over North Carolina and South Carolina via Windy

This will greatly increase the width of the storm surge threat and cause TORRENTIAL rainfall over North Carolina and VERY HEAVY FLOODING rainfall over South Carolina and through adjacent Inland regions of both States. Falls of more than 700mm are likely in isolated areas over North Carolina with widespread falls of 250-500mm from North of Charleston, South Carolina to Morehead City, North Carolina including Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. This rainfall is likely to combine with a 6-13/15ft storm surge along the Coastline which is likely to cause a significant and life threatening threat. The combination of these 2 events are expected to be unprecedented for the region and lead to entire buildings potentially being submgered, the geographic landscape of the North Carolina Outer Banks being changed forever, catastrophic flooding which may isolate areas for more than a week along with cut roads and highways, downed powerlines, downed trees and emergency assistance becoming extremely limited in the early aftermath.

We continue to urge people who haven’t left, to leave. This kind of event hasn’t been experienced before. Yes Hazel produced a bigger storm surge, yes Hugo was a stronger system, yes Floyd was horrific… but none of these systems produced this kind of rainfall and this kind of storm surge together, simultaneously.

Overall threats with a wind gust base map via Windy

2 08, 2018

Queensland Drought: The miserable tale of 2 seasons

When looking at Queensland’s half yearly rainfall, its so easy to explain. Everything just makes sense and fits into place… but at the same time, its amazing a slight change can alter reality so drastically. During this detailed write up, the goal is to not only explain why some areas have the rainfall anomalies that they do, but also explain how this has not only sped up or worsened the ongoing drought but also created a new drought for other areas. 

 

Starting in the North… The majority of the Peninsula is below average and this can be solely attributed to a lack of monsoonal activity during the peak of the Cyclone season. The majority of monsoon troughs stayed North of the Peninsula and over the Northern Gulf / Coral Sea, this ultimately reduced monsoon rain but also thunderstorm activity. Ironically Mornington Island was well above average and this is courtesy of Cyclone Nora which produced very minimal rainfall over the Western Peninsula, but camped over the Southern Gulf leading to excessive rainfall across numerous days through the Gulf Islands. 

Moving into the only real above average area in Queensland, Far North QLD. From about Ingham to Cooktown, Inland to just beyond the Ranges… this area benefited from countless small scale lows and monsoonal flow generated from an extensive period during late February and March. South Johnstone, near Tully, is sitting at 4053mm for the first 6 months of 2018, a massive 1333mm above average. March alone generated more than 2300mm of rain for the region! Nearby Cairns has had more than 2100mm for 2018 so far and Tully even more.

As you move down the Coast though you can see what happens under the influence of a failed wet season. Mackay has the greatest deficiency in QLD, sitting over 600mm below average. Normally 1307mm will fall in the first 6 months of any given year, however 2018 has generated just 705mm. Some people may think thats still okay, its 700mm… however the area is a large part of the sugar cane industry, an industry that NEEDS average or above average rainfall, any less and not only is the current harvest weak, but future harvests suffer too. Given future rainfall forecasts and current deficiencies, Mackay could be on the brink of their own drought which would be detrimental to the sugar cane industry. Further South over the Capricornia and Wide Bay… its bad also, with most areas 150-300mm below average.

 

In South East QLD, its amazing what a good or bad storm season can do. Most of the area is below average, however Greater Brisbane and Ipswich sit only fractionally below, while the Scenic Rim is mostly on average. This perfectly illustrates how storms acted all season, with most storm days featuring the Scenic Rim and Greater Brisbane, but rarely the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast which sit well below average. 

Then there is Inland QLD, the area has copped failed wet seasons for years, a failed 2017-18 storm season and a mind blowing hot Summer. The only exceptions to this are the Far North West where parts of the region saw flooding rainfall in March (but thats the only rain all year) and the Central Highlands where some slightly more frequent storm activity helped keep things ticking along. Southern Inland and South West QLD have seen nothing – storms were too isolated, the winter fronts havent reached QLD and if they have… they’ve been dry. The heatwaves made any rainfall rapidly dry up. 

 

Its easy to see how more than 60% of QLD is under the effects of a bad drought, however the worrying thing is… with the current deficiencies in some non-drought regions and the futuristic rainfall outlooks, that percentage is no doubt bound to rise!

QLD Rainfall Deficiency

22 04, 2018

[UPDATED] Hailstorm threat for NENSW and SEQLD on Monday

South East QLD and North East NSW are seeing the potential for one of the more active hail days of the soon to be finished storm season as a cold pool moves overhead on Monday. Above image via BSCH showing severe weather threat indices for Monday.

 

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Its not too common that we see a forecast that would be more suited for Victoria or Southern NSW, over the South East QLD and North East NSW region, but that appears to be the case for Monday. A very weak surface trough is forecast to become positioned along or near the Ranges through NENSW and SEQLD. This will continue to produce an onshore South East flow over both areas during the day (similarly to the last week or so) and this will combine with strong upper trough moving directly overhead. 

 

Upper level air temperature showing a large cold pool over SEQLD and NENSW via BSCH

Upper level air temperature showing a large cold pool over SEQLD and NENSW via BSCH

 

 

For Monday, we are seeing reasonable energy levels in the atmosphere – especially over the Wide Bay and Northern Rivers regions. This energy will allow thunderstorms to develop a little better with the updrafts reaching elevated heights. What that means is that storms are likely to tap into the much colder air much easier. Models are also indicating that storms are going to be very slow moving towards the North to North East. This setup means that any storms that do develop are likely to contain hail, and given the slow movement we could easily see noticeable hail accumulations directly under storms where it could hail for 15 or 20mins and cover the entire ground making it potentially look like snow. There is a chance of some severe cells too which are more likely to be over the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands areas, which could lead to localised areas of large hail. Heavy bursts of rain are another threat, but the noted threat for the day is definitely hail. 

 

Steering winds via BSCH showing the direction that storms are expected to move

Steering winds via BSCH showing the direction that storms are expected to move

 

 

Southern Inland parts of the South East Coast (i.e the Scenic Rim) and Northern Rivers are at the highest risk for thunderstorms given the reasonable or even very good moisture levels. While there is a threat for the Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast / Brisbane Valley, a lack of moisture caused by a tongue of dry air intruding is expected to hinder potential. That doesn’t mean storms won’t occur, just they appear to be far more likely over NENSW than the Wide Bay.

 

Energy (CAPE) levels via BSCH. The higher the number, the more energy in the atmosphere. This is just a base indicator and localised higher or lower totals are possible.

Energy (CAPE) levels via BSCH. The higher the number, the more energy in the atmosphere. This is just a base indicator and localised higher or lower totals are possible.

 

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31 01, 2018

Generous Monsoon breaks Tropical Records!

It was the monsoon that kept on giving, and now for MANY locations its delivered not only some of the best rain in years… but its actually broken LONG STANDING January records! Heres a breakdown of how the month transpired… Above image via BOM (Monthly rainfall colour map)


The monsoon came through in 2 different waves, one earlier in the month that lasted around a week or so, the second towards the end of the month which lasted about the last 2 weeks. There was no real break in between the two which helped keep the rainfall build up going, and for those who missed out on one day… the dome eventually broke. Cyclone Joyce was an added bonus for the NW NT and Northern WA region, while a series of tropical lows helped boost the Northern QLD totals, and a deep tropical low brought phenomenal rainfall to WA.

 

Forecast mid level winds via EC showing 3 tropical low's situated along the Monsoon Trough on Wednesday (January 24th) via Windy

Forecast mid level winds via EC showing 3 tropical low’s situated along the Monsoon Trough on Wednesday (January 24th) via Windy

 

Thats all well and good to have the above, but it always comes down to numbers with these kinds of accumulative setups, so what were the numbers really like (note, bolded locations and totals indicates a new January or All-Time Record)?

More than 1000mm fell in a few locations
Kangaroo Flats (SE of Darwin) (NT) 1185mm

West Roebuck (WA) 1073mm
Mount Bundey South (NT) 1026mm

For these areas, Kangaroo Flats recorded an insane 4 straight days of 100mm+ (the only location to do so), as well as 6 days above 100mm for the month (again the only location). West Roebuck recorded the highest daily total in the country with 449mm and 673mm in just 5 days.

 

The deep tropical low (Invest 90P) which delivered over 400mm to Broome and West Roebuck in 24hrs, and 600mm+ in a week to the NW NT

The deep tropical low (Invest 90P) which delivered over 400mm to Broome and West Roebuck in 24hrs, and 600mm+ in a week to the NW NT

 

 

The more populated areas were hit with falls of 800-1000mm which brought flash and some river/creek flooding.
• Bing Bong Port (NT) 967.6mm

Milingimbi (NT) 933.8mm
Broome (WA) 915.6mm
Channel Point (NT) 908mm
Centre Island (NT) 891.2mm
• Darwin (NT) 857.2mm
• Scherger RAAF (QLD) 819.6mm
Ngayawili (NT) 817.6mm

Within these areas, Scherger RAAF recorded 351.8mm in the last 2 days of the month, Centre Island scored 534mm in 4 days. Broome cracked 673mm in 5 days which included their second highest daily total on record of 412mm and Darwin amassed 637mm in the last 10 days of the month. Bing Bong Port was also the only location to record 2 200mm days.

 

Weekly NT Rainfall via BOM

Weekly NT Rainfall via BOM

 

 

Further significant rainfall was also recorded across remaining parts of the NT and across the Tropics of QLD with scattered falls of 500mm (not every 500mm total is included here because there are a heap of them).
• Weipa (QLD) 704.8mm

• Derby (WA) 683.2mm
• Hazelmere (QLD) 680.5mm
• Borroloola (NT) 666.2mm

• Cairns Airport (QLD) 664.6mm
• Bidyadanga (WA) 608.7mm
• Mornington Island (QLD) 595.4mm

• Cooktown (QLD) 579.6mm
• Cairns City (QLD) 552mm
• Coconut Island (QLD) 540.2mm

Curtin (NT) 517.6mm
• South Johnstone (QLD) 510.2mm

In these areas, Hazelmere amassed 320mm in 1 day, Cooktown 241mm in 1 day, Weipa 371mm in the last 2 days of the month. Derby scored 2 200mm+ 4 day blocks, which helps show that it wasn’t a one hit wonder. While Cairns got 3 days of more than 100mm helping it become the wettest January since 2010.

 

Monthly rainfall over Tropical NQLD. Red circle indicates the first monsoon burst, the purple circle indicates the 2nd monsoon burst. Image via BOM

Monthly rainfall over Tropical NQLD. Red circle indicates the first monsoon burst, the purple circle indicates the 2nd monsoon burst. Image via BOM

 

8 07, 2017

Rare Phenomenon covers South-East QLD & Brisbane City

A rare phenomenon swept Brisbane yesterday creating the perfect opportunity for those out and about to grab snaps. Above image via Geoff Locke


The phenomenon is simply known as very low clouds… it doesn’t sound exciting or interesting, but it only happens about once a year and those in Brisbane City got a first hand glance of it. It appears as fog, and many people messaged into the page asking about the “fog that was lingering” but in reality it was an usual and specific combination that allowed for cloud bases to drop to as low as 100m in some places, and even lower in others as the evening progressed. The process is simple, but its very specific in the process of which it occurs.

The Reds game was near impossible to watch as the cloud engulfed Suncorp. Image via James Caughlin

The Reds game was near impossible to watch as the cloud engulfed Suncorp. Image via James Caughlin

 


Morning rain and storms hit Brisbane and much of South-East QLD during Friday morning which allowed for low level moisture to linger for much of the day as it became trapped under thick cloud and wasn’t allowed to evaporate. As the day progressed, the sun struggled to peak through and this allowed the second chain in the process to occur and that was cold temperatures. Brisbane experienced its coldest day in 3 years yesterday and it doesn’t matter if it wasn’t cold in reality… for the region, it was. The increased moisture caused by showers in the atmosphere allowed for the third chain in the process to occur and thats where the increased moisture mixing with cooler temperatures and surface humidity allows clouds to descend and act as fog.

Horse riding in the clouds at Ocean View via Natasha Koning

Horse riding in the clouds at Ocean View via Natasha Koning

Click below to view the image carousel featuring several images sent in by followers from across the region.

The cloud coverage was so thick that only the tops of Brisbane’s highest buildings were visible at Mount Coot-tha, the Airport experienced heavy delays and commuters required headlights in the middle of the day to drive on some of the most open roads in the region. Its not often this occurs, as stated above, but when it does – some of the photos are simply breath-taking.

Brisbane flight delays last night via Jessica Urquhart

Brisbane flight delays last night via Jessica Urquhart

Planes in a holding pattern and grounded at Maroochydore en route to Brisbane, with delays to the Gold Coast via Kristy Collins

Planes in a holding pattern and grounded at Maroochydore en route to Brisbane, with delays to the Gold Coast via Kristy Collins

 

 

3 07, 2017

Forecast Discussion: Good snow incoming for Snowy Mountains

A cold front is in the process of sweeping across Inland NSW and VIC with a low pressure region noted over the Bight which is likely to help trigger snow over the Snowy Mountains for the next 48hrs. Above image via BOM – Himawari Satellite


The current synoptic setup assisted by satellite and radar imagery shows a cold front which is just passing through Central Victoria and Inland NSW at the moment. This cold front is linked to a low pressure region (a series of about 3 low pressure centres) situated over the Great Australian Bight. This cold front has helped generated reasonable showers across much of Western and Central VIC already today with falls of 10-15mm over the West and up to 20mm so far over Central / Northern Districts so far. Strong to damaging winds have also been noted with gusts of 98km/h over Mount Hotham, 82km/h over Mt Buller and Mt William. Gusts may increase, along with shower activity as the front moves over later this afternoon through Eastern VIC and the Snowy Mountains.

Weatherzone satellite / radar showing activity already over Central VIC

Weatherzone satellite / radar showing activity already over Central VIC

 


Behind this front, the low pressure region is expected to move towards the East to South-East later today and overnight tonight. This shift in positioning will allow for cold air to be dragged up behind the low and interact with increased moisture coming out of the South-West across VIC to generate idealistic conditions for snow to occur down to around 1500m across the Snowy Mountains. This should lower to 1200m and possibly 1100m or 1000m during Tuesday as the components required all peak (temperatures being at their lowest, moisture being at its highest). This will allow for snow showers (which have already started over the Snowy’s) to continue from Monday night until Wednesday morning and good falls of 25-40cm likely and the potential for 50cm+. 

Snowfall forecast via WindyTV / ECMWF for the Snowy Mountains

Snowfall forecast via WindyTV / ECMWF for the Snowy Mountains


This isn’t the only system this week with another heavy dumping expected before the weekend. So if it is possible, then be sure to make a late school holiday dash to soak up some of the winter wonderland which has been lacking over the Snowy Mountains this season so far.

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2 07, 2017

Good Snow Dumping just in time for School Holidays

The Snowy Mountains are expected to benefit from a winter blast over the next few days with the best snow of the season so far expected to arrive just in time for resorts to benefit from a holiday rush. Above image: Forecast snowfall via WindyTV


During Monday, a low pressure region is expected to become situated over the Bight, with a cold front / trough system extending up through Western VIC and Inland. During Monday afternoon and evening, this trough / cold front is expected to sweep through bring some strong winds to elevated regions along with isolated showers across both much of Inland NSW and scattered showers across much of VIC. Behind this system though, a pool of ‘cold enough’ air is expected to creep up from the Southern Bight and move over the South-East corner of Australia. This pool of ‘cold enough’ air is expected to linger through Tuesday to allow snowfall to continue before easing back on Wednesday as the lower level cooling warms up and conditions become heavily reliant on upper level activity.

So for the snowfall, up to 50cm, yes half a metre, is expected across parts of the NSW Snowy Mountains and 30-40cm is expected across the VIC Snowy Mountains. Good moisture should remain active over the Snowy Mountain region which will allow for nearly all precipitation to become snowfall during Monday afternoon until Wednesday morning. The small difference in totals is expected to come from the peak cooling remaining over NSW throughout the snow period. Despite the very good totals that are expected, snowfall is only expected to fall down to around 1200m and this is due to the cold burst of air only being -2ºc at 1500m ASL. This is perfect timing after such a poor start to the season, the ski resorts can hopefully salvage something from this occurring during school holidays.

Forecast températures at 1500m ASL during Tuesday morning via WindyTV / ECMWF

Forecast températures at 1500m ASL during Tuesday morning via WindyTV / ECMWF

 

 

As for the other weather associated with this system, scattered showers with falls of 5-15mm are expected across VIC and better falls (stated above) across the Snowy Mountains. Reasonable falls of 5-10mm are expected across Southern NSW / ACT also. The rainfall and cloud cover should keep maximum temperatures down on normal, but thankfully minimums should come back to at least normal if not slightly above average after the deep freeze experienced over Saturday and Sunday morning.

ECMWF / WindyTV - Forecast 3 day rainfall with blue being around 10mm and green / aqua being as much as 25mm

ECMWF / WindyTV – Forecast 3 day rainfall with blue being around 10mm and green / aqua being as much as 25mm

 

 

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2 07, 2017

Day 2: The cold get colder

Another morning of widespread freezing and even frigid conditions as swept much of NSW, VIC, TAS and Southern QLD with the elusive -10ºc temperature finally occurring. Above image via Jo Hall in a frozen Glen Innes


Over the past 24hrs, a high pressure system which was originally situated over Eastern VIC / Southern NSW shifting North-East and became elongated to stretch over the entirety of Eastern NSW and remain over Eastern VIC / stretch into South-Eastern QLD. This allowed temperatures to remain fairly similar to that of Saturday morning across large parts of NSW and VIC, while South-Eastern QLD saw an even colder morning. TAS remained influence by the ridge and while temperatures weren’t nearly as frigid in the Highlands as those seen on Saturday, there was still enough for the freeze effect to occur.

 

Cool frozen display on the roof of a car in Bathurst, NSW via Miranda Ross

Cool frozen display on the roof of a car in Bathurst, NSW via Miranda Ross

 

• Goulburn  was the coldest of the cold with a new record breaking -10.4ºc, beating yesterday’s record breaker of -9.7ºc and smashing the original record of -9.1ºc.
• Cooma Airport -9.2ºc
• Canberra saw -8.2ºc which has meant Canberra has seen back to back -8ºc days 
• Braidwood -7.5ºc (back to back -7ºc)
• Tuggeranong -7.0ºc
• Young -7.0ºc
• Butlers Gorge (TAS) -6.6ºc
• Bathurst -6.1ºc
• Bombala -6.0ºc
• Temora -5.8ºc
• Mudgee -5.6ºc
• Condoblin -5.5ºc
• Fingal (TAS) -5.5ºc
• West Wyalong -5.5ºc
• Cowra -5.4ºc
• Liawenee (TAS) -5.2ºc
• Glen Innes saw -5.0ºc
• Merriwa had -4.8ºc – again the coldest in the Hunter although much of the Hunter was noticeably colder this morning
• Orange -4.6ºc

 For the major cities, Melbourne scored 1.4ºc again with the outer suburbs below 0ºc, Hobart was 1.1ºc for the second morning running with the outer suburbs down to as low as -4ºc. Western Sydney scored -2ºc and areas West of Brisbane dropped to freezing. 

Click above to view the image carousel featuring a variety of photos sent in!

For much of Eastern NSW in particularly, the high pressure ridge should remain in place today and into tomorrow morning allowing for another cold morning, but overall temperatures aren’t expected to be as bitter as the previous 2 mornings.

Frozen cricket field in Katoomba via Amanda Playford

Frozen cricket field in Katoomba via Amanda Playford

 

 

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29 06, 2017

Low Level Snow incoming for TAS!

A cold front has moved through Tasmania this morning and has made way for a burst of freezing air to impact the region tonight and tomorrow morning leading to low level snowfall! Above image via Weatherzone


A cold front moved through Tasmania this morning bringing strong to damaging wind gusts and some reasonable rainfall as expected. Wind gusts of 93km/h were recorded on Maatsuyker Island off the South Coast of Tasmania while Mount Read record a 91km/h gust. Several other locations recorded winds of 80-90km/h during the morning and early afternoon. As for the rainfall falls of up to 20mm occurred to 9am over the Western districts of TAS and up to 15mm from 9am to 2pm over the Southern districts. Again, nothing out of the ordinary, but its the cold air which is now moving overhead that is about to change things up.

2:30pm radar and satellite of Tasmania showing the showers impacting the West via Weatherzone

2:30pm radar and satellite of Tasmania showing the showers impacting the West via Weatherzone

 

 

Satellite imagery at 3pm was showing a large area of speckled cloud coverage starting to impact Western Tasmania behind the cold front, and spreading into the Eastern Bight. This speckled cloud coverage is indicative of very cold air which usually results in snowfall. Global models are indicating that from now (3pm Thursday) until mid Friday morning, an upper trough with much colder than normal temperatures of -5 to -7ºc at 1500m ASL is expected to impact the entirety of Tasmania. This very cold air is expected to combine with a narrow period of increased moisture content to produce snowfall to low levels across Tasmania, likely down to 300m and possibly down to 200m. This should lift on Friday morning to around 500m and then gradually during the afternoon before snowfall stops. Despite low level snow occurring, only 10-15cm is expected in the TAS Highlands and this is due to the narrow timeframe that moisture will be active over the region. Only a dusting is expected below 500m.

Forecast 1500m ASL temperatures for Midnight Friday June 30th over Tasmania via ECMWF / WindyTV

Forecast 1500m ASL temperatures for Midnight Friday June 30th over Tasmania via ECMWF / WindyTV

 

 

28 06, 2017

Low Level Snow likely in TAS during Thursday & Friday

A new wave of snow potential is expected to sweep through Tasmania during Thursday night and Friday morning with snow likely down to 400m and possible down to 300 maybe even 200m. Above image via WindyTV showing 3-day snowfall potential.

During Thursday morning, a cold front is forecast to sweep across Tasmania producing a band of showers and strong to possibly damaging winds. While rainfall totals should be fairly normal for this time of year, and winds will be nothing out of the ordinary…. its the pool of freezing air which is expected to be dragged up from Antarctica behind the system and produce conditions favourable for low level snowfall.

During Thursday afternoon and evening, temperatures at 1500m are expected to rapidly drop and bottom out around midnight at -7ºc over Southern TAS and -5ºc or colder over the entirety of TAS. These very cold temperatures are expected to mix with a narrow period of moisture from about 4pm Thursday until about 4am Friday to produce conditions which are favourable for snowfall to occur at low levels. The majority of models are indicating the snow is likely to fall to at least 400m, with snow possible down to 200m in the South of the State (some going even lower than that although the safer bet is 200-300m). While this isn’t anything out of the ordinary as Tasmania does see low level snow each day, the system itself is much awaited after the warmest start to June in a long time for the majority of TAS.

 

Despite the potential for low level snow, snowfall totals at the higher altitudes aren’t expected to benefit with the window of moisture expected to be short enough that snowfall totals are limited to about 15-25cm over the Central and Northern Highlands, and only a dusting at those lower levels. Thinking positively though, after such a warm start… some of these Highland locations could be well over the 50cm mark in just a week of activity following 2 previous snow days in the last 8 days.

ec-tas-snow-june-29-30