A solid southern Stau kicked in last weekend and it started to snow lightly on the south side of the Alps. At this time, it's snowing lightly between Monte Rosa in the west and Carinthia in the east. In the course of the day the snowfall will extend to the southern Piedmont where the snow line is between 1200 and 1600 meters. It will continue to snow in the south until Tuesday, where you can expect 2-10, locally 20 centimeters of freshies.
At the same time cooler air will arrive in the Alps in the night of Monday to Tuesday, so you can expect some snowfall in the northern Alps on Tuesday. The snow line will be around a 1000 meters or deep in the valleys. The models are arguing a little bit about the quantities. One model is based on 1-5 centimeters, while the European model that we have posed as the basis for our snowmaps guarantees 5-20 centimeters. Judging by the present warm air and the fast inflowing cold air I expect around 5-20 centimeters on a base of grass and stones below 2000 meter.
Mostly rocks below 2300 meter in Kaprun ((c)Droeschka Kersten)
It gets really interesting after Tuesday. A low pressure area named Angel attempts to bring snow to the Alps and she succeeds wonderfully well. The first serious dump for the northwest of the Alps this winter. But mostly snow for the higher alpine. The snow line is at pretty low altitude at first and it can snow deep into the valleys where they have micro climates, but the warm air from the warm front will come in pretty quick. The freezing level then goes up to 2000-2350 meters and the snow line climbs towards the 1550-1900 meters.
The low pressure area Engel is ready to rock 'n roll
A rising snow line is annoying, but better some snow than nothing. Every little bit counts at the moment and a dump of 30-70 centimeters is quite nice just before Christmas. The reason that the snow line is set so high is due to the jet stream, that is too far north. Because it's just north of the Alps, it is warm in the Alps. The advantage of the high temperatures is then again that moisture can penetrate far into the Alps, so that the higher parts of the French Northern Alps, Switzerland and Vorarlberg get a nice base layer for the rest of the season. Between Grenoble and the Kleinwalsertal I expect some nice snowfall at altitude.
It will remain warm in the Alps until Friday. The freezing level varies between 2400 meters in the west and 2200 meters in the east of the Alps. Cold air will come in on Saturday bringing some freshies.
There is going to be a change in the weather on Friday. It will turn to the northwest and will bring cold air to the Alps. There's only one show stopper....the high pressure area above the Azores islands is looking for its chance to move the cold temperatures and snowfall further east. But the models agree so far.
The first snow will arrive in the Alps on Friday. First between the line Grenoble-Arlberg, but moving further to the east later, so that the Salzburgerland finally gets some freshies. Is the snow line at the start still around 1600 meters, this is expected to drop over the weekend towards the 800 meters and below. You can expect 10-40 centimeters fresh. Cold snow, and especially in those areas where they already have a base this will provide wonderful conditions. But the reality is that this is only the first snow for the vast majority of resorts. It will make for a white Christmas, but freeriding below 2000 meters is not going to happen. Especially since after the weekend high pressure is in the making again. For now therefore continues to apply: freeriding is done in the higher alpine. PA #3 is for the higher alpine again will start this weekend. With some flexibility you can ride some powder. Details will follow.
More details tomorrow!