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Ellie Honeybone and Tyne Logan, 15 Aug 2019, 1:17 AM UTC

Heaviest snow in years expected over WA's Stirling Ranges this weekend as cold blast hits

Heaviest snow in years expected over WA's Stirling Ranges this weekend as cold blast hits
Source: ABC
There will be a flurry of excitement atop the mountain peaks of southern Western Australia after Bureau of Meteorology forecasters confirmed a massive dumping of snow is due on Saturday. This could be the best snowfall to hit the Stirling Ranges in recent years with snow expected to fall as low as 600 metres, potentially covering not only Bluff Knoll but also the nearby Porongurup Ranges. Icy blast on its way So far this year, snow records have already been broken with the earliest recorded falls occurring on April 19. This weekend's forecast shows the snow has a chance of lingering until midafternoon, according to BOM WA media and communication manager Neil Bennett. "There is a significant front to move through on Friday, and when we say significant we are talking about the temperature of the air in behind that and that's really what's going to drive the prospects for snow," he said. "I think this time around it could well be hanging around during daylight hours. "There is a possibility there could still be some flurries around midmorning or early afternoon, so there is no real need for people to attempt a dawn hike to get there for first light." Widespread falls expected At 1,099 metres above sea level, Bluff Knoll usually sees a handful of snow events during the winter months but it is rare for the forecast to predict falls on lower peaks of the Porongurups, such as the 670-metre Devils Slide. Mr Bennett advises keen hikers and snow chasers to remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear during this extreme weather event. "Weather conditions are not going to be pleasant; we are expecting some quite strong winds," he said. "Winds of 20 to 30 kilometres per hour would be something you would expect, it could even be higher than that." Those attempting to summit Bluff Knoll are encouraged to walk in a group and be aware of reduced visibility.