It snowed heavily in a lot of places on the north side of the Alps on Saturday. But not for long. It started raining, the freezing level is rising and it rains up to 3000 meters. February traditionally is the coldest month, but these kinds of weekends show once again that this is no ordinary winter. But fortunately the cold temperatures will return to the northern Alps this week, but it won't be easy. In this forecast:
It's incredibly mild today and that's already the third time since the third of January (Do you remember? It's the date that it finally started snowing in the Alps). So in the 7,5 weeks that we're experiencing some kind of winter in the Alps we already had three peaks in temperature with rain up to high altitude. Unbelievable. It's extremely mild today, but the temperature will drop a bit on Monday.
A vast low pressure area settles over Scandinavia with the aim of bringing low temperatures down south early this week. Low pressure area Xin is using all the power it has, but high pressure area Gerhard is a tough one. When we look at the jet stream it's obvious why. The current is zonal and at full speed. We just have to wait before it drops to the south and bringing cold air back to the Alps. But it doesn't happen as fast as we all hoped.
The expectation is that cold air will return to the Alps in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday and it will snow deep into the valleys. But it's not 100% sure. If the jet stream doesn't drop that much south, the scenario will be much different. From a weather perspective it's quite exciting. Cold air is returning, but when?
The avalanche danger remains tricky. Already 38 people died in the Alps because of avalanches this winter. The combination of rain, wind and weak layers cause a critical avalanche situation above 2200 meters in a lot of places in the Alps. The avalanche danger in parts of Tyrol even is HIGH (4 on a scale of 5) today. Unfortunately, the danger is hard to see with the naked eye. No matter how big the stoke is, decision methods and systematic filtering of the risks are the only ways to take calculated decisions. Always check the local avalanche forecast and adapt your plans to it. Avalanche beacon, shovel and probe are a MUST. If you don't have any knowledge, start working on it or go out with a mountain guide.
Rain, mild temperatures, wind and a complex snow cover. For now: hold your horses. Only touring is possible under the guidance of experts in the southern Alps where they didn't have that much rain. A conservative route choice is thereby recommended.
Stay stoked, Morris