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Snow chasers head to Stanthorpe ahead of forecast cold blast

Wednesday June 9, 2021 - 00:10 EST
ABC image
Stanthorpe locals and visitors are hoping for snow after several frosty mornings like this on Monday. - ABC

People are flocking to the Queensland town of Stanthorpe hoping for a rare glimpse of snow in the sunshine state, with flurries forecast from tonight. 

Temperatures in Queensland could plummet up to 8 degrees below average in the coming days as a cold front sweeps through the state, with forecasters predicting snow flurries for the Granite Belt.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Peter Markworth said the best chance of seeing snow was in areas above 900 metres.

"We could see some small accumulations around the Girraween National Park, Eukey for example," Mr Markworth said.

"We haven't ruled out Stanthorpe, but at this stage it's less likely than the elevated areas."

Ken Kato was among the snow chasers on the Granite Belt and said social media had "gone crazy" after the forecasts.

"It's really the novelty factor of just seeing snow in Queensland," he said.

"If we were in Canada ? or in the ski fields in the Australian Alps, I don't think there'd be that much excitement and hysteria about these snowfalls."

Mr Kato has been a regular snow chaser since the 1990s.

"Even though snowfalls occur about once a year or once every two years, mainly around the higher parts of the Granite Belt, it's still novel to me," he said.

"Even after decades of snow chasing, I still find it really appealing."

Snow frenzy brings warm glow to business

Amanda Harrold, from the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce, said hotels and motels had booked up fast after news of the possible snowfalls spread.

"We've got full occupancy in a number of places, so if you're thinking of coming out, I recommend you ring in advance," Ms Harrold said.

She said the influx would top off what had been an already busy year for businesses on the Granite Belt.

"There's lots of happy people rugged up in the main street," she said.

"And all the shops in the main streets have got visitors in them, so there's so much for people to do and see."

Mr Kato urged fledgling snow chasers not to get their hopes up too high if they were planning to build a snowman.

"Stanthorpe does have a chance of seeing snowfalls, but the chances aren't quite as good as if you're higher up and/or further south," he said.

Mr Kato advised amateurs to be prepared and to pack essential items such as warm clothes, snacks and a camera.

And Mr Kato's final tip?

"Make sure you've got a full tank in your car as well because often you'll find that you'll need to turn the engine on to turn the heater on to keep you warm while you're waiting for that snow," he said.


© ABC 2021

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