PA#23: Tu es bien la?


By meteomorris on 17 March 2014 · 0

Wet slides in Les Karrelis
Wet slides in Les Karrelis

It was summer last week in the Alps. The temperatures got up to digits that are normal….for mid June. Our warning for wet snow avalanches was a good one. These wet snow avalanches came down in Switzerland and Austria. This week will be pretty warm again and you’ll still have to be aware of wet snow avalanches. There’s some colder air hitting the northern Alps on Tuesday and Wednesday with some snow on high altitude, but this is practically nothing. Nope, we’ll have to move ahead to next weekend. The weather models are suggesting a change of weather for seven days now, where the European model is the most modest and probably will be right in the end. The GFS model came up with snow for this Thursday and cold temperatures and snowfall for Saturday. Well, the forecast has to be postponed, but finally it looks like there will be some consensus between the models. The maps for Sunday are looking quite the same.

Snow from the (south)west?
Snow from the (south)west?

But it’s too early to tell you where it will happen. If we have a look at the ensembles there seems to be a lot of inconsistencies in the calculations. Let’s start with the ensemble for the western Alps.

Western Alps

The output is the same till Saturday. Way too warm for the time of the year and the freezing level is around 3000 meters during the day. The nights are colder and it’s still the question if it will get colder in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. No snowfall anyway, and it is a typical week for the so-called ’Tagesgang’. You’ll have to start your day early and end early in the afternoon to avoid the increasing risk of wet snow avalanches.

On the 23rd of March however, everything is about to change. All the models are showing snow (or rain). The big question is: ’what will the freezing level do?’. The last calculations are pretty positive and you can see the freezing level dropping at least for five days to around 1500 meters or even lower. But as you can see below, not all the calculations agree. It definitely will snow in the higher alpine and it probably will snow heavily.

Western Alps
Western Alps

In short: lots of snow, uncertain temperatures, but it will be a good old-fashioned powder riding in the Alps from Monday/Tuesday. More details about the snow line the next couple of days. Up next: the southern Alps.

Southern Alps

Same story as the western Alps. Too warm and dry. You’ll have to start your day early and end early in the afternoon to avoid the increasing risk of wet snow avalanches. There’s a big chance of snowfall from the 23rd of March. The last calculations are showing a front that’s moving to the Alps from the southwest. But this front will probably stabilize, so it’s quite uncertain to tell where to go. The freezing level will be around 1800 meters. With intense snowfall the snow line might drop to 1100 meters. More details on Wednesday.

Southern Alps

In short: lots os snow, uncertain temperatures. More details about the snow line the next couple of days. Up next: the northern Alps.

Northern Alps

You can spot the temperature drop on Wednesday. Some flakes will come down, but it’s close to nothing. It’s too warm and dry in the northern Alps. You’ll have to start your day early and end early in the afternoon to avoid the increasing risk of wet snow avalanches. It’s quite uncertain after the 23rd of March. It will definitely snow in the main alpine ridge, but the snow line and intensity aren’t sure yet, as is the duration of the precipitation.

Northern Alps
Northern Alps

Conclusion

The temperatures will go down, and there’ll definitely be some freshies in the higher alpine from Sunday. It’s about time for some nice lines in the higher alpine next week. Don’t go out to the resorts in the first mountains of the Alps and avoid resorts where the peaks are not higher than 1500-1800 meters. It’s time to focus on the inner alpine resorts and the main alpine ridge. There’s plenty of snow here and the higher temperatures last week and this week will cause a lot of wet snow avalanches. The new snow coming in on Sunday and Monday will bring nice touring conditions and it’s time for the big lines and couloirs. If you need inspiration, check out the video below. An instant classic.

Stay stoked

Morris


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