Snowfall on the Darling Downs 'definite possibility'
THE Darling Downs could be in for a white winter.
Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce president John Bylicki has predicted snow will fall this season.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Janine Yuasa said snow could fall on the Darling Downs at any time during winter, but added the conditions needed to be right.
For snow to fall there would need to be a cold air mass, moisture and a weather system that will generate precipitation.
Ms Yuasa said a very dry air mass over the Darling Downs meant snow was unlikely any time this week.
She said a strong cold front from the south could generate snow in the southern parts of Queensland if the conditions were right this winter.
Frost has appeared in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs to mark the first day of winter.
The temperature plunged to 3.7 degrees in the Garden City overnight and the apparent temperature dropped to 0 degrees.
The Bureau's weather observation station at Wellcamp airport reported the temperature fell to -0.8 degrees overnight and the apparent temperature was a frigid -5.2 degrees.
- Applethorpe: -2.7
- Warwick: -2.4
- Oakey: -2.4
- Dalby: -1.9
- Roma: -1.8
- Toowoomba: 3.7
Frosts have been recorded in Stanthorpe and Ipswich also saw a white dusting.
The minimum temperatures in Toowoomba are expected to stay low this week, about 6 degrees daily until Sunday.
There is almost no chance of rain, according to forecasters.
The Granite Belt region is hoping to cash in on the cold weather.
Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce president John Bylicki said a good winter meant a lot for the region.
"The winters are the number one season for tourists and my understanding is there's not a lot of accommodation left at all," Mr Bylicki said.
"I'm hoping it's going to be even bigger than last year's and there's no reason why it shouldn't be."
While autumn was warmer than average across the Granite Belt, Mr Bylicki said this was unlikely to impact the region's peak tourism months.
"My understanding is we're in for extreme temperatures now whether it's summer or winter," he said.
"From what I understand we're going to be in for a very, very cold winter and snow's a definite possibility."
Southern Downs portfolio councillor for tourism Rod Kelly said the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre had been busy and he hoped for a strong tourism season.
While Cr Kelly hopes to see a repeat of the 2015 snowfall - something he predicts could be on the cards in mid-July - he welcomed yesterday's significant frost.
"We know that winter time is a huge time for tourists and visitors to the Granite Belt," Cr Kelly said.
"The colder it is, it seems the better (tourism) is. Let's hope it snows again this year."
Cr Kelly pointed out there would be "snow" when the Snowflakes in Stanthorpe festival begins on June 30.
"If all the stars align, we might see a winter wonderland," he said.
"It really would be good to see snow again. It's such an attraction."
Meanwhile, Symphony Hill winemaker and USQ adjunct professor Mike Hayes said the autumn temperatures - which were above the long-term average - hadn't hugely impacted on the region's wineries. But he said late frosts in spring could be far more damaging, and had been more common in recent years.