Snow for the high alpine

By meteomorris on 16 April 2015 · 2

Snow for the high alpine
Snow for the high alpine

After a week with high temperatures in the Alps colder air is finally coming in on Friday. But this invasion is extremely difficult. Now, at the time of writing, it is still summer in the Alps and really cold air is still at least 1000 kilometers north of the Alps. A painfully slow cold front will only reach the Alps in the night from Friday to Saturday and the temperature will drop slowly. Before that, it will rain for 24 hours up to high altitude.

Cold front coming in from the north
Cold front coming in from the north

A lot of wet snow avalanches

Wet snow avalanches came down every afternoon the last couple of days. Friday will be no different and I expect that avalanches will come down even earlier. Because of the emerging clouds the snow cover won't be able to radiate all the humidity in the night of Thursday to Friday, so the snow cover stays wet. Add to that the rain will fall throughout Friday up to an altitude of 2600 meters in the east and 2400 meters in the west and you understand that wet snow avalanches are on the menu for Friday.

Huge wet snow avalanches in Ischgl
Huge wet snow avalanches in Ischgl

Cooling down in the afternoon

Only in the course of Friday afternoon and evening, the cold air will come in. Particularly east of Andermatt it will succeed to penetrate and in the night to Saturday the snow line in the east of Switzerland and Austria will drop towards the 1500 meters. Because there is still enough moist air available, it will snow quite a lot. In the course of Saturday the precipitation will move to the Southern Alps where it rains and snows on Sunday from 2400 meters altitude. In the rest of the Alps it will be warm again.

Saturday afternoon will be quite okay in the northern Alps with some fresh snow and cold temperatures. On Sunday it is warm again and you'll have to watch out for wet snow avalanches.

Separation starting on Monday

Warm in the west, snow and colder in the east. On the eastern flanks of a high pressure area cold air will drop towards Salzburg and East Tyrol on Monday. On Monday and especially on Tuesday you can expect snow deep into the valleys. But the high temperatures are around the corner.

What to do?

Here are some tips for the coming days. It will be unstable in the Alps until Monday, so there aren't that much possibilities to go for a tour. The weather will get better in the west and the south of the Alps on Monday and then it's time to go out (early) in the morning again. For some fresh snow near the lifts are the tips:

  • Resort on higher altitude in Switzerland on Saturday (Engelberg, Andermatt, Zermatt, Saas Fee)

  • Saturday afternoon the resort in Austria with plenty of lifts above 2200 meter

  • Sunday the remains in the resorts mentioned above

  • Touring at high altitude on Monday/Tuesday around the Mt. Blanc, Ecrins, Matterhorn

  • Powder above 2000 meters in the Salzburgerland from Tuesday/Wednesday

Next update after the weekend!

Stay stoked



  • AdamStekl
    AdamStekl op 17 April 2015 · 07:59
    Hi Morris,
    thanks for the forecast. My plan was to go touring this weekend in Otzta (escape from the high temperatures to the glacier), particularly Martin Busch Hutte (2500 m.a.s.l.). Here I want to ask you for advice. There's a 3 hour approach to the hut from Vent (2000) which leads bellow very steep easternly orientated big faces. This approach is dangerous because of wet snow avalanches specially in the morning when these slopes catch all the sun. We planned to arrive to Vent at 8 pm tonight and do the approach tonight. I think it should be ok, but I am bit nervous with all the rain coming today.
    Do you think we should change our plan and go resort shredding (Solden, Gurgl) instead?
    Thanks Adam
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 17 April 2015 · 17:22
    @AdamStekl, it's raining down here in the Silvretta and the snow is totally wet up to 2400 meters. Cold air is expected to arrive friday night. Saturday morning it will be snowing and there might be some sun at the afternoon. Sunday will be sunny again.

    If I were you I would call the Huttenwert and ask him for the local conditions.
    May the powder be with you.


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