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Storm Gabriele will be a big one. She is moving from the British Channel towards the Mediterranean and pushing colder air eastwards. Once arrived in the Gulf of Genua she deepens to 990 hPa and will bring loads of snow.
50-200 cm of fresh powder?
Below you see a so called Föhn-chart. And to give you an idea what this means: 'Sudföhn' means snowfall in the Southern Alps and a warm relatively dry Chinook wind in the Northern Alps. And in this case it means massive snowfalls. Why? First there is supercold air moving in from the west, second this storm deepens to 990 hPa, third the Mediterranean is still relatively warm and the cold air can pick up loads of moisture and fourth there is the orographic effect of the Alps that shoot up from the flat Po-Valley up to the major peaks of the main Alpine Ridge within 50 kilometers distance. And than you have massive, massive snowfalls. Massive enough to see the first black spots appear on our powderforecast maps (scroll to the end of the page!)
Till Wednesday the biggest snowfalls are expected in the Southern French Alps, the Italian Piemonte and Aosta, the northern Piemonte, Tessin, Lomarbdia and the Engadin, but also the Southern regions of Wallis. Snowlevels will be around 1200 till 1600 meters. In smaller valleys even lower. Until Tuesday evening I expect 50-90 cm in the Southern Alps. Wednesday and Thursday morning will add another 50-100 cm in the Southern Alps above 2000 meters.
Wind will turn northwest to north in the Northern Alps. Snowlevels will go down till 1000 meters and lower. This will bring snow to the Northern French Alps, Switzerland and even Voralberg in Austria. The exact details after Thursday are not that clear yet. But for sure is that the Sudföhn (Chinook) is dropping and the wind will turn north. In the Southern Alps the wind will pick up and the snowfalls will be less intense. Be aware for snowdrifts and snow accumulations caused by the wind! Where the snow in the Southern Alps will accumulate on an already excisting baselayer, this baselayer is quasi non-excistent in the Northern Alps. Especially Steiermark, the Salzburgerland and the eastern parts of Tirol don't have any baselayer yet.
Where to go?
There are not many resorts open yet and those that are open don't have any trees. Not ideal during massive snowfalls. Besides that the snowcover is still pretty thin and rocks (sharks) are not fully covered. On Wednesday Sulden am Ortler and Livigno already open. They both have a baselayer and some trees. These two might be good options.
As from the weekend the options get better. It stays cold and more resorts will open their lifts. Montgenèvre, Bosco-Gurin, San Domenico, Monte Rosa and Sestrière might be good bets. These are resorts with treeruns and do have a solid base already. If the sun may come through, Zermatt, Andermatt, Verbier, Zinal, Corvatsch en Corviglia and the glaciers of Tirol will be good options too. And although a lot of Austrain resorts have planned to open december the 1st, with no base layer offpiste might be risky. If possible you'd better go to Süd-Tirol (Italy) where there is a baselayer already and they will get some powder the next few days.
Wednesday a new update.