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Snow falls over Flinders Ranges, creating alpine scenes in South Australia's north

Friday August 7, 2020 - 15:16 EST

Snow has fallen across parts of South Australia including as far north as the upper Flinders Ranges, transforming the usually parched landscape into a scene likened to the North Pole.

Tourists at Wilpena Pound woke up to the very rare sight of snow falling, covering paddocks and hillsides.

Icy temperatures added to the impression of the kind of alpine scene rarely witnessed in South Australia, especially so far north — much to the delight of locals.

"I don't need to go to the north pole," one person can be heard saying in a video from Willow Springs Station.

Falls estimated to be about 2 centimetres thick blanketed areas around the northern Flinders including Blinman.

Holidaymaker Heather said she initially thought it was rain but could not hear anything, so went outside for a closer look.

"We were up at 7:00am and we could see it was falling," she told ABC Radio Adelaide.

"We went outside in our pyjamas and bare feet and beanies and it was snow. The flakes were like great big fluffy soap suds.

"I've never seen snow, so it was really exciting to actually see it in South Australia, in Wilpena Pound. It was probably about 1.5 to 2 centimetres thick.

"Now the paddocks are covered in snow, there's a solar-powered station out here in the middle of a paddock that's got a corrugated iron roof and that's thick with snow and there are icicles hanging from it. The hills are covered with snow.

"There are people camping — I felt so sorry for them."

Wilpena Pound worker Kerwin Moore said it was "quite amazing" to see a usually dry setting transformed.

"It's about time we got a bit of water up here," he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology had predicted light snow in parts of the Mid North and Flinders Ranges, with flurries also reported on Mount Remarkable.

There is a small possibility of snow on Mount Lofty, near Adelaide, and senior forecaster Simon Timcke said it was quite an unusual situation.

"It's a rare event in South Australia to get snow," he said.

"The weather is going to be coming from the east … most of the time we're used to it coming from the west."

Mr Timcke said large masses of cloud in a low pressure system were pushing up onto the Flinders Ranges and through the state's Mid North, over a very cold air mass.

"With all that cloud over the top, it's not going to warm up at all," he said.

"The freezing level is so low [that] the precipitation just doesn't have time to form, so it's falling as snow and staying as snow on the ground.

"If we … see snow up there we wouldn't expect the ground to be as cold as it is … the reason it's not melting on the ground is because it is so cold."

He said snow could be expected through today and into early Saturday morning.


© ABC 2020

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