PA #19: Wednesday and Thursday


By meteomorris on 24 February 2014 · 0

It's sunny in the Alps. In the complete Alps this time. The day started with cold temperatures, but it pretty much feels like spring right now. And spring is pretty close for some ski resorts in Austria. In the lower valleys, winter never really started and it will be pretty hard for the little amount of snow that's still there to last till mid-March. Especially because the long-term forecast doesn't look that good for the northern Alps.

Lower parts in Austria
Lower parts in Austria

On the other hand, winter is still alive and kicking in the inner alpine regions, and in the resorts south of the main alpine ridge. With snow heights between 300 and 600 centimeters, it will take a while before the snow is gone.

Lots of snow in this inneralpine valley

Snow cover up to four meters on the Bernina pass
Snow cover up to four meters on the Bernina pass

It clearly shows that this is a southern winter. This winter reminds me of winter 2008-2009. The southern Alps had to deal with record snowfalls. And the 20-40 centimeters of freshies for the northern Alps of PowderAlert #18 wasn't quite a compensation for that.

PowderAlert #19?

The sun will dominate the complete Alps till Tuesday, but a small PowderAlert #19 will be in effect from Wednesday. Not super deep, but there's a nice base layer and it's enough to get a fix for your stoke. You can expect 20-40 centimeters (if you're in the right place at the right time). More details later on in this forecast, but I'll explain this weather pattern first. The are dealing with high pressure area Friedhelm at the moment. High pressure area cause mild and sunny days, but also cold and clear nights. This is a typical situation called inversion, where you can still see clouds in the valleys, as long as it's cold enough. If you have a look at the webcams you can see that's not exactly the case right now in the Alps. You can only spot some clouds in the Piemonte.

Inversion in Bardonecchia
Inversion in Bardonecchia

High pressure areas also speed up the transformation of the snow on southern faces. The sun is pretty strong already and if you're looking for cold powder you'll have to search for it on faces with a northern or eastern exposure or in tight forests. But change is on its way. The image below is shooing that storm Yvonne is ready for take off.

Yvonne ready to strike
Yvonne ready to strike

The occlusion front (the purple line west of the French Alps) will pass in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday and it will be halfway by Wednesday. The front will bring cold temperatures and snow. The temperature at 2000 meters today is between +2 and -3, but this will drop to around -6 degrees on Wednesday. The freezing level will be around 1400 meters.

Front halfway the Alps
Front halfway the Alps

Where will it snow?

The wind is coming from the southwest before the front arrives. When the front has passed the wind will turn northwest and it will get colder. This is a typical (but very short) western Stau, so the resorts in the western Alps will get the most snow. I expect the most freshies in the stau regions of the Mont Blanc, which are the resorts in western Wallis, the Haute Savoie and the first mountains of the Isère and the Savoie. You can expect 20-40 centimeters on Wednesday. The snowfall will expand to the east later that day, bringing snow to the west Stau regions, such as the Piz Bernina in the western part of the northern Swiss alpine ridge.

PowderAdvice

The other regions in the Alps don't get any or just some centimeters of freshies.

PowderAlert #19
PowderAlert #19

Long term: PowderAlert #20?

There's more snow on the maps for the long term. A so-called Genua-low is forming in the night from Friday to Saturday. This low will bring snow to the western Alps, the Piemonte and the southern Alps central. But a Genua-low has the tradition the shift back and forth before it reaches its exact location. So, no details yet, but definitely more to come this week!

For now: enjoy PowderAlert #19!

Stay stoked

Morris


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