It's ON! You can tell easily by the first reports coming in and the webcam images. It has been snowing heavily in the western and southern Alps and it's still snowing in large parts of the southern Alps. The precipitation spread during the night to Switzerland and the Vorarlberg. The last flakes of this first front are coming down today and it's time to get ready for the second front. Some images.
It's still sunny with a Föhn wind in the Salzburgerland and Steiermark. The not even thin line between spring-like conditions and lots of freshies is the Arlberg. There won't be much snow east of the Arlberg, it's still snowing west of it.
The sun will come out temporarily before the second front will come in. And what will happen than is just like my forecast from yesterday.
It will start snowing again on Saturday morning. This time more from the south than from the southwest. This is caused by a temporary low in the Gulf of Genua, which will dump its snow in the complete southern Alps (including the French southern Alps) in the night from Saturday to Sunday. Especially the stau regions of the Ecrins (the French southern Alps), the stau regions of the Mt Viso (the central and southern parts of the southern Alps west), everything south of the line Monte Rosa-Gotthard-Piz Bernina (the southern Alps central) and the stau regions of the Dolomites, the Ortler, the Kärntischer Alps and everything south of the Hohe Tauern (southern Alps east) can expect a lot of snow. Right now I’m expecting around 30-60 centimeters of freshies, but regions such as just south of the Gotthard might even het 90 centimeters or even more. The snow line will be around 1000 meters and it will rise later on to 1200 meters. The freezing level will temporarily rise to 1400-1600 meters. The snow will get heavier on Sunday. So expect acummulations up to 150 cm in 4 days in those places where the storm will kick in really hard. And... there will be a northern kickback on Monday. It looks like 10-25 cm are in for he resorts north of the line Grenoble-Innsbruck.
The new snow will cause the avalanche danger to rise and I expect it to be HIGH (that’s 4 on a scale of 5) in many parts of the Alps. Fortunately, the avalanche situation stabilized a bit in a lot of regions in the Alps. But there are still regions that cause some problems. Some advices:
Avoid Wallis, Graübunden and Süd-Tirol. If you’re skiing there, stay below 2200-2400 meters to reduce the risk.
Avoid the higher alpine terrain in general. All parts of the mountain above 2500 meters will be dangerous because of the wind, corn snow and layers in the snowpack that doesn’t bond well.
Avoid ridges and couloirs. By doing this you’ll eliminate around 70% of the risk of triggering an avalanche.
In short: choose resorts with lots of larch trees this weekend and don’t ride any steep faces in the higher alpine. Always check your latest avalanche bulletin. Enjoy and don’t forget to share your reports!