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Snow a no-show on Queensland's Granite Belt as tourists face bitterly cold but dry conditions

Wednesday June 9, 2021 - 23:12 EST
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The Moore family left Brisbane at 3:10am to travel to Stanthorpe in search of snow. - ABC

First it was a historic State of Origin loss, and now Queenslanders have had their hopes of seeing rare snow fall dashed.

Tourists have flocked to Queensland's Granite Belt in the hope of seeing snow, but the weather bureau is warning the chances are marginal as New South Wales welcomes a winter wonderland.

A cold front is sweeping through Queensland with below zero temperatures recorded this morning at the localities of Wellcamp, Kingaroy, Blackall, Clermont, and Biloela.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting possible sleet or snow over the peaks around Stanthorpe, but senior forecaster Jonty Hall said current conditions were too dry.

"I wouldn't say it's likely. I hate to be a bit of a party pooper," he said. 

"We're not seeing any sort of precipitation in the area.

"If you're satisfied by seeing a few flakes, then you might be in business."

Mr Hall said NSW towns like Orange have seen significant falls of snow.

"I think you have to head a bit further south today," he said.

The forecast of possible snow had brought an influx of tourists to Stanthorpe, with most accommodation fully booked.

Mr Hall said parts of the Granite Belt that were 900 metres or more above sea level had the best chance of seeing snowflakes from mid-morning.

He said there will be sunshine today and into the weekend for the south-east corner.

Snow chasers still hopeful

Tiarni and Jamie Moore made the decision to travel to Stanthorpe from Brisbane last night, leaving just after 3:00am this morning.

?We said yep, why not let?s do it, we?ve got the day off,? Mr Moore said.

"The kids have never seen it so that?s why we wanted to take them."

Veteran snow chaser Ken Kato stayed in Stanthorpe overnight but said he had deliberately kept his expectations low. 

"The chances were always looking borderline for snow on the Queensland side of the border," he said.

"I'll try the highest parts of the Granite Belt first ? but I don't really have high hopes of seeing snow there.

There were expectations the overnight winter blast could equal the last significant snow event in 2015.

At Ballandean Estate, one of the higher-altitude vineyards in the region, winemaker Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi stayed up all night looking for snow.

"It's very disappointing and got up four or five times last night. I woke up my dog all night, he was wondering what was going on," she said.

"We were really hoping it would be a repeat of 2015, but it doesn't look like it so far."

Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce president Graham Parker said most tourists were still holding out some hope for snow.

The weather bureau is warning sheep graziers in the Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt districts of cold temperatures and strong west to northwesterly winds  during today.


© ABC 2021

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