It was not winter but you could have been mistaken for thinking it was when snow blanketed the town last Friday. Guyra and district residents welcomed a return to the chilly conditions in what is being described as the best snowfall in at least 20 years.
Snow was recorded over a wide area from Black Mountain in the south up to Tenterfield in the north and west of Guyra at Tingha and Delungra.
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For many the chance to build a snowman was the first priority with locals and visitors alike putting their talents to the test. There were also reports of snowball fights in the main street and snowboarding on the golf course.
Snow in spring is not uncommon in Guyra with falls recorded in September or October in 17 of the last 31 years including October falls in four out of the last five years.
Local weather observer Jeff Martin said that the snow began to fall shortly after midnight and continued intermittently through to 9.30am. He said that the heaviest falls were between around 4am and 9am. At 9am the snow was 17cms deep on the ground before it gradually started to melt at around 11am.
The snowy conditions were caused by cold surface temperatures following the passage of a trough, enhanced by an upper level cold pool, and moisture being added to the system by a low pressure system off the NSW coast.
The maximum temperature reached just 4.0C and strong westerly winds made it feel much colder with a 3pm wind chill temperature of -8C.
This was Guyra’s coldest October day on record (38 years of records). The previous lowest was 7.2C on October 6 1983. Temperatures were low enough to allow some of the larger ‘snowpersons’ in a number of front yards to survive overnight into the following day.
A feature of the fall was the ideal conditions which have been described as both beautiful and magical by many. Large flakes fell, and in the absence of wind settled on trees and buildings making for some great photo opportunities.
Heavy falls that used to be quite common in the area are now much rarer and many believe that this fall is the heaviest since 1984. From July 3 of that year snow fell over three days isolating the town and causing the closure of schools and businesses.
Substantial falls of snow (ie enough to build a good size snow person) were recorded in the following years: July 1996 (6-8cm on the 12th/13th, 4-5cm on 14th and 10cm 20th/21st) July 2000 (10cm), July 2004 ( depth not reported) and May 2008 (7-8cm).