Chair lifts came to a halt yesterday at two of Vicoria's most iconic ski stations as Mount Hotham Alpine resort and Mount Buller said goodbye to the 2013 snow season. Both joined Mount Baw Baw, who closed its lifts in late August after a season that many might like to forget.
Late in May, the 2013 snow season was not looking too promising despite indications of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) developing in the Indian Ocean. The IOD, is ENSO's (La Nina/El Nino) counter part in the Indian Ocean. A negative IOD tends to bring above average rainfall across southeastern Australia over the winter months, and hence more snowfall!
The negative IDO indeed did develop later in the winter. However, cold temperatures weren't really there in a year that saw Australia recording its warmest winter on record. This was due to the lack of strong cold fronts sweeping across the south, cold fronts which usually flush the warm weather and replaces it with much colder air.
Most of the Alps recoded above average rainfall this winter with the highest totals recorded in mainland Australia across this period. Mt Hotham registered its wettest July in 19 years with 292mm, while Mt Buller recorded its wettest August day in 31 years worth of records with 69mm on the 23rd. Although, ski stations managed to break the one metre mark in late August, temperatures in general were to warm.
Usually we look across the ditch with snow envy, but this wasn't a particularly good year for our New Zealand counterparts either.
Falls Creek is the only major station in Victoria still offering some snow although it too, will close for the season this Sunday 29th September. Across the border, Thredbo and Perisher are still clinging to a season that never really was, pushing their luck until the October long weekend or until the boards can continue to slide.
Even though there are 256 more sleeps until the 2014 season begins, most of the Australian resorts are open throughout the whole year offering other kind of activities during the summer months with bush walking and mountain biking high on the list. Whatever it is, it will be a good excuse to enjoy this country's great outdoors.
© Weatherzone 2013
18:15 EDT An Australian Urban Search and Rescue taskforce has returned from Vanuatu after a 10-day operation to repair schools and hospitals in Port Vila after Cyclone Pam.