Winter takes a break


By meteomorris on 23 October 2015 · 0

After a week of hurricane powder the weather in the Alps is getting calmer. We are still in the early winter, and it is common that during this period the temperatures go up and down. The parameters for typical 'winter weather' are pretty negative the coming days.

The NAO-index is positive again and that results in precipitation in Norway and no precipitation at all in the Alps (read this article again). When we have a look at the division of pressure the next couple of days, that theory is confirmed. High pressure is ruling the Alps and low pressure is getting a grip on Norway. The snowmaps are showing some nice colours in [Scandinavia](in Scandinavia). But don't drive up to Norway right now. It's only October and the air is still relatively warm.

High pressure is ruling the Alps
High pressure is ruling the Alps

As a result of the high pressure in the Alps, the jetstream is pushed to the north. The Alps will have to deal with warm air and it feeld like winter is far far away again.

The jetstream is north of the Alps
The jetstream is north of the Alps

Fortunately there's no precipitation and the nights are clear. The temperature drops during the night and the snow remains preserved on north faces. If you start with Mountain Academy you'll learn that heat does not necessarily have to lead to the melting of snow. There must either be moisture present, or there a direct radiation of the sun.

But now we find ourselves at the end of October and the angle of incidence of the sun is now so low that the snow on steep northern faces no don't have to face problems caused by the radiating sun anymore. This snow is here to stay for the winter. Although it will not remain as white as on the picture below. Many airplane pilotes are part of the wePowder community and they regularly send us reports from the air (thank you for that). Check out this report from somewhere above Austria.

Austria from the sky
Austria from the sky

The Alps won't colour that white the next couple of days, but the nights are cold and that will preserve the snow on north faces. During those nights, sugar snow or surface hoar will start forming. In the Mountain Academy you can learn that these kinds of snow are pretty nice to ride, but can cause problems on the long term.

On the long term, the weather is about to change. If we have a look at the plots for the next couple of days you can already see some changes. First a plot for the southern Alps. It's warm and dry at first, but it will get colder next week with significant precipitation.

Expectation for the southern Alps
Expectation for the southern Alps

If we have a look at the northern Alps, you can easily spot the high temperatures and no precipitation. Only in the end of next week there's some room for dropping temperatures and precipitaton

Expectation for the northern Alps
Expectation for the northern Alps

So... winter is taking a small break. But, a lot can happen in seven days. It's still autumn and nothing changes as much as the weather!

Stay stoked!
Morris


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