It's going to snow. And snow. And snow for seven days, if the forecast can be trusted.
Finally, after the warmest autumn since records have been kept in many parts of Australia, a decent cold front is sweeping through the south-east of the country. Here are some early snowy scenes from Mt Hotham in Victoria on Thursday morning.
The front is only just arriving on Thursday morning, but the Bureau of Meteorology has busted out the snowflake icon for the NSW and Victorian ski resorts for up to seven days.
Here's the delightful scene at Mt Buller in Victoria on Thursday morning.
And here's the latest Thredbo forecast.
These are not expected to be particularly heavy snowfalls. Nor is the snow tipped to fall to exceptionally low levels as it did in the last week of May 2000, when a deep and intensely cold Antarctic outbreak brought snow to large areas of NSW, VIC and the ACT, including this NRL match.
But we're definitely in for a prolonged cold spell, and leading snow forecaster Jane Bunn (who unlike most of the self-appointed snow gurus is actually a qualified meteorologist), tips "a lot of snow" from Friday night into Saturday.
No matter whether this system delivers a lot or a little, it's just in the nick of time for the official ski season opening on the Queen's Birthday long weekend from June 11 to 13.
Cold air in the wake of this system should allow snowmaking at night, which will enable beginner and intermediate slopes to open for skiing. Australian ski resorts make the bulk of their money from new skier and snowboarders, so they'll be happy.
Whether this turns into a decent season or not is anyone's guess. Here's a video of some really excellent snow at Thredbo last year to get you enthused.
Here's a really interesting snow blog which suggests that every Olympic year is a bumper snow season in Australia. It's almost certainly just a coincidence, but it's a nice theory.
But snow lovers, here's a sobering thing before you get too excited. It's a chart showing the decline in Australian snow over the last 60 years since records started being kept. These figures come from Snowy Hydro's official measuring course at Spencers Creek in the NSW Snowy Mountains. The downward trend is unmistakeable.
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