Cold weather brings thousands of tourists to New England

New England was blanketed with snow this weekend, as cold fronts combined with upper-level cold air to produce snow over the Northern Tablelands.

Walcha was inundated with tourists wanting to experience a winter wonderland and while all saw some snow, those that could stay until Monday morning were treated to a spectacular sight.

A further fall of snow on Sunday evening combined with very low temperatures and no wind resulted in landscape scenes straight out of a snow dome around town until mid-Monday morning.

The local school buses were cancelled, and many declared it a school free snow day with the principals blessing. Thunderbolts Way between Walcha and Gloucester was also closed until later in the day.

Over the weekend, local businesses were packed - particularly food outlets - with snow chasers.

Light snow showers fell in Armidale from 6.30 to 8pm on Saturday, but little settled on the ground. Heavier snow fell on Sunday from 8.30 to 9.15pm, and settled on roofs, cars, and lawns, melting on Monday morning.

The Oxley Highway between Bendemeer and Walcha Road was closed due to snow and ice, and to remove vehicles from the road. It reopened on Monday morning, but motorists were still advised to be cautious of snow and ice on the road.

Armidale reached 1.1 degree on Sunday and 3 degrees on Saturday (max 8.4 and 10.3 respectively), according to Weatherzone. The Glen Innes minimum was -0.5 degrees on Sunday, and 4 degrees on Saturday (max 10.5).

Walcha was also cold - 1 degree on Sunday (max 6.5) - but that didn't deter 400 people who attended a clearing sale at the Ruby Hills heritage merino wool farm.

"We rarely get snow out here, but we are enjoying it!" a volunteer said. A 1924 Harley Davidson was sold at the auction for $47,000.

Boultons from Landmark at Walcha were pleased with the attendance, even though snow and a cold wind could have kept people away.

Walcha's Saturday minimum was 3.4 degrees, max 8.5 degrees.

Guyra was the coldest town in the region, at -11.6 degrees on Sunday (max 5.2 degrees) and 0.1 on Saturday (max 8). The winter weather, though, was a boon for the town; an estimated thousand snowseekers headed to the highest town on the Northern Tablelands.

"We've probably done 500 meals in two days in our dining-room," David Wilcox, vice-president of the Guyra Bowling & Recreation Club, said. "It was just crazy, but really good for the economy. Everywhere was just busy as!"

Cherie Carter, from JoJo's on Bradley, agreed. "It's better than the Lamb and Potato Festival and the TroutFest put together - 100 per cent!"

Snow fell to depths of four cms on Saturday night, and six cms on Sunday night in Guyra, the highest town on the Northern Tablelands. Temperatures plummeted to -11.6 degrees on Sunday morning, according to the Guyra Hospital weather station.

At 11pm on Sunday night, Mr Wilcox said, 200 cars were parked on the golf course. The visitors - many from the Higgins Storm Chasing Facebook group - were fantastic, he thought. They understood how long it took to get meals - and had a grand time making snowmen and snow angels.

"At the moment, it's tough times for farmers," Mr Wilcox said. They're not employing people because they've got to save money for their food, water, and stock, so everything's slowed down. This certainly has brought a little bit back in!"