PA #1: Another 50-80 cm for the Gotthard

By meteomorris on 10 November 2014 · 0

Jackpot again for the Gotthard!

Event #2 and #3 are up next after the immense snowfall last week. Then it's time have a look where we have to go during the weekend of 15th and 16th November. The possible call will be confirmed on Thursday. Is there enough snow? Are there enough lifts open? And if so ... where to go?

Event 1,2 and 3?

We are in the pre-winter, there are few lifts open and there is only a limited base. It therefore makes no sense to announce a PowderAlert at any significant snowfall. And so we add up three episodes of snowfall to make one alert.

Last Friday was pretty good already. They skinned up in the eastern Queyras , and it was hip deep on some glaciers. But the announced higher temperatures soon followed and the pleasure was only short. Nice, but short. But what remains is a beautiful base and new snow will be added the next couple of days.

Especially in the French Southern Alps, the Italian Piemonte, large parts of Switzerland, the higher parts of Vorarlberg and the western glacier areas in Austria already had a lot of snow. That's a great perspective for trips to those regions!

20-80 centimeter freshies for the higher alpine

Until Monday it will snow again in the Southern Alps. It already snowed in the French southern Alps last night and the southern Piemonte and the front has arrived at the southern end of the Gotthard. With a snowline around 1500-1800 meters and a freezing level around 2100 meters, this is mainly snow with lots of humidity, but again, this is really good for the formation of a solid base layer for the rest of the season.

They already had around the 23-38 centimeters to the south of the Gotthard and Simplon and the sum of PA #1 for the real 'Jackpot Areas' is already at 276 cm of fresh snow. Someone asked me if a snow cover of 5 meters thick can already be found somewhere... No, not exactly. The snow settled because of the mass of the fallen snow, wind, the temperature and the humidity in the air to a snow cover of around 150 centimeters. But that's a very nice base.

Freshies in Vars/Risoul
Freshies in Vars/Risoul

Freshies in Puy
Freshies in Puy

More to come on Tuesday

Event #3 is up on Tuesday. The existing unstable air in the Po Valley gets new energy there. The storm layer Stephanie sends even more unstable air toward the Southern Alps for even more fresh snow in the higher alpine.

Storm Stephanie
Storm Stephanie

The story is the same as with event 1 and 2. Cold air from the northern latitudes comes into contact with the mild Mediterranean air. This mild air contains more moisture and is forced by the colder air to condense, after which follows the confrontation with the South Alps. Either: Jackpot and lots of snow for the higher alpine. Chances are the avalanche danger rises towards 'four' in parts of the French Southern Alps, the Italian Piemonte and southern Switzerland on Tuesday and Wednesday. Because in addition to the 50-80 cm of fresh snow until Tuesday morning, you can expect another 80-170 centimeters of freshies above 2200 meters until Thursday, where the snow line fluctuates between 1300 and 1800 meter. Snow in the higher alpine!

Long term

The long term looks like a jet stream with a westerly character. Or, for connoisseurs, a zonal jet stream. In the final calculations the jet stream will exactly flow over the Alps, and as a result the Alps will have to deal with hot air and temperatures that will be about 1-3 degrees above the long-year average. The result is that the snow will fall particularly in the higher alpine, while it's raining in the valleys. Now, every disadvantage has its advantage. Because a lot of snow in the mountains is good for the base. There is warmer and heavier snow which normally settles really well, but where especially the formation of depth hoar won't start. And anyone remembering the winter of last year knows how dangerous the snow cover was in late December / early January. Especially in the south and southwest of the Alps (including the main alpine ridge) a lot of snow is forecasted the next ten days.

And the weekend?

It seems to be a very snowy weekend. While some visibility would be nice. More tomorrow.

Stay stoked!



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