Snow in Western Australia

Details of the 1992 Snowfalls

The year of 1992 was memorable for its number of snow events and also their timing. Up to the middle of August the winter had been mild, then the weather changed. Two snow events in August were followed by one of the heaviest snowfalls for years in October (spring), then a surprise fall on November 19 which was the latest in the year that snow had been recorded in WA (just two weeks before summer). Snow was not confined to the Stirling Range either, with many low-lying towns seeing snow for the first time in decades.

August 16, 1992

The first snowfall of the year brought snow to the Stirling Range, commencing on the night of Saturday August 15 and continuing into the next day. Up to 5 cm was recorded on the summit of Bluff Knoll on the Sunday morning, with snow settling nearly halfway down the mountain at its greatest extent. Snow flurries were also seen in the car park at the base of Bluff Knoll but didn't settle there.

See also my own account of a snow chasing trip to Bluff Knoll on this day. Also the following scans:
Newspaper story (The West Australian, Aug 17)
MSL pressure chart for Aug 16

August 28, 1992

Light snow fell on Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range, and enough remained the following morning for children to build a "snowchild".

Mt Barker and nearby areas recorded two 10 minute bouts of light snow mixed with rain from 2:30 pm, with a 3 pm temperature of just 5°C. The maximum temperature of 7.5°C was Mt Barker's coldest August day in 35 years.

Ongerup recorded a record low August maximum temperature of 8.2°C, with reports of snow in the evening. There was also a report of snow from Katanning.

See also the following scans:
Newspaper story (The West Australian, Aug 29)
Newspaper story (The Albany Advertiser, Sep 1)

October 6, 1992

In the Stirling Range, snow on the summit of Bluff Knoll was estimated by ranger Allan Rose to be 20 cm deep, reputedly the heaviest snowfall since 1952. He estimated that 1000 or more people climbed the mountain to see the snow, and cars were lined up more than a kilometre from the car park - police were called in to help handle traffic to the small car park which normally sees less than a hundred visitors on a winter day. Further evening snow replenished the cover, which remained for two to three days and was a superb sight due to the cloud staying away.

Snow fell in the early morning at many low-lying inland towns including Katanning, Kojonup, Tambellup, Cranbrook, Borden, Gnowangerup and Arthur River. Katanning recorded a maximum temperature of only 7°C, while Albany on the coast recorded its lowest ever October maximum of 11.5°C.

At Broomehill, near Katanning, there were reports of snow 5 cm deep. Farmer Scott Witham said the snow began about 5:30 am and turned his farm into "a picture out of a storybook", with about 40 per cent of his crop flattened.

See also the following scans:
Newspaper story and accompanying picture (The West Australian, Oct 7)
Newspaper story (The West Australian, Oct 8)
MSL pressure chart for Oct 6

November 19, 1992

Snow-starved Western Australia's already above-average snow year was topped off with another record - the latest in the year that snow has been recorded. Only two other November snowfalls have ever been recorded in the State.

The heavier falls were on the Stirling Range and the Porongorup Range. Light falls were also recorded at lower lying inland towns of Greenbushes, Wagin, Darkan, Narrogin, Manjimup, Kojonup, Rocky Gully, Boyup Brook and Mt Barker. These falls were light and short lived, but the extent of the low-level snowfalls was especially remarkable due to the date being less than two weeks prior to the official start of summer.

See also the following scan:
Newspaper story (The West Australian, Nov 20 1992)


SOURCES
The above information was extracted from reports in these newspapers:
The West Australian, Aug 17 1992
The Albany Advertiser, Aug 18 1992
The West Australian, Aug 29 1992
The Albany Advertiser, Sep 1 1992
The West Australian, Oct 7 1992
The West Australian, Oct 8 1992
The Albany Advertiser, Oct 8 1992
The West Australian, Nov 20 1992