Winter arrives in the northern Alps today. The temperature dropped significantly last night and the snow line is around 700-1000 meters. It is the first sting of winter, but the warm air does not give up without a fight and makes a serious attempt to warm up the Alps on Saturday. An active storm named Husch travels across Europe the next couple of days and marks the difference between cold air from the north and warm air from the south. You can expect lots of freshies in the Alps between Saturday and Tuesday and a significant snow cover will form in all regions above 2000-2300 meters. In this forecast:
The map above showd the complexity of the weather the next couple of days. Storm Husch is arriving in Europe and marks the boundary between cold air from the northwest (blue arrow) and warm air from the southwest (red arrow). This results in the image below with the temperature at the moment at an altitude of 1350 meter (green is cold, orange is warm).
Husch is slowly moving east and pulls cold air to the Alps. This will initially lead to a rising snow line, but it will start to drop from the west in the night from Saturday to Sunday. The cold air will have reached the east of the Alps by Sunday night and only then the complete Alps are filled with cold air. The snow line will drop pretty much everywhere to 1000 meters. Simply because it won't be snowing everywhere the amounts of snow will differ per region. I'm sure that the mountains will be painted white with the magic stuff above 2000 meters altitude pretty much everywhere.
Because of the complexity of the weather the next couple of days, I'll give you a forecast per region. I'm pretty sure about the stuff I've mentioned above, but the altitude of the snow line and the timing of the front will definitely be different from the scenario that I outline below. That has to do character of the front, that will move east with different speeds.
Rain, rain and more rain. Will the snow line drop in the Jura? Saturday will be a depressing day with wet snow on the highest peaks. The snow line will drop in the night to Sunday and it will snow above 1200 meters. Unfortunately, most of the precipitation already came down as rain. It will snow again in the night to Monday, but don't expect that you actually can go skiing.
The battle of the snow line will take place on Saturday. It will get pretty cold in the night to Friday in the Ecrins and Queyras. The clouds will hit the Ecrins and the Mont Viso thanks to the wind from the south to southwest. The combination of cold air and the clouds hitting the Alps will result in a snow line at around 1500 meters in the night to Saturday, but it will rise again to 2000-2200 meters on Saturday itself. The snow will be dry above 2600 meters. The snow line will drop rapidly in the night to Sunday, but the precipitation will be gone soon thanks to the incoming northwestern current. You can expect 20-60 cm of freshies above 2300 meters till Monday. Chances are that you can go out for a tour on the Col d'Agnel.
Saturday will be a rainy day with a freezing level around 2800 to 3000 meters and a snow line around 2500 meters thanks to a mild current from the southwest. You can expect some freshies on the glacier in Tignes, but many peaks in the Beaufortain and Bauges will remain green for a long time.
The snow line will drop rapidly on Saturday night and will end at around 700 meters on Sunday morning. There will be less precipitation thanks to the incoming cold air, but it will still snow regularly on Sunday. Expect around 10-40 cm of freshies above 2300 meters and much more above 2700 meters till Monday. Mid-mountain you can expect 5-20 cm on Sundaty Freshies on the glacier in Tignes next week and it might even possible to do a tour on mountain passes above 2000 meter altitude.
Just like the 3000 meter high peaks in the Savoy, the Mont Blanc massif will also get plenty of snow. The current will come from the southwest first and this results in snow for Courmayeur (with a dropping snow line), but Chamonix will get more snow from Saturday night (and a dropping snow line over there).
A wam Föhn will hit Switzerland from the southwest in the night to Saturday. You can spot on the thermometer in Adelboden that might go in the double digits. Saturday starts with rain till 2000 meters altitude, but the snow line will drop to 1400-1600 meter during the day and in the night to Sunday it will drop to 700-1000 meter! The sun will come out slowly but surely fro the west, but it will keep on snowing in the east. You can expect 25-50 centimeter of freshies above 2000 meter and 10-25 cm of freshies above 1500 meters. Next week will be pretty good for a tour and the lifts are running at the glacier of Les Diablerets (please check if they actually open). Monday could be a good day!
A warm Föhn will kick in from the southwest in the night to Saturday and you can expect some snowfall on the glaciers in the main alpine ridge on Saturday morning. There won't be any precipitation in the other regions. It won't start snowing until Saturday afternoon / evening when the cold front arrives and the snow line will drop. Austria will be placed in a snow sandwich with snow from both the south and the north. You can expect lots of snow especially in the glacier resorts located in the main alpine ridge. If the maps don't lie it will keep on snowing (lightly) after Sunday with the most snow coming down east of Innsbruck. I expect around 40-100 cm of freshies above 2200 meters and 10-35 cm of freshies above 1500 meters. Just wait for the sun to come out next week and ride some powder!
It will start snowing in northwest Italy on Friday night. It will also snow especially in the northwest of Italy and on the border with Switzerland and France on Saturday. The snow line will be around 2,200 meters near the Mediterranean and around the 1700 meters around the Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and Piz Buin. The snowfall will extend to the northeast of Italy and the south of Austria on Saturday, with a snow line between 1500 and 1900 meters. It will start snowing heavily in the night from Sunday and on Sunday itself. The snow line will drop to 1400 meters and later to 700 meters. There will be less precipitation on Monday. The conditions around the Stelvio, Sulda am Orter and Val Senales will be pretty good. The lifts are up and running!
The days after the weekend will remain pretty cold in the Alps and it might still snow especially at the beginning of the week. What will happen after is still uncertain and the models are going back and forth. Let's hope the jet stream will stick to the south, because this will result in more snowfall for the Alps. The next update will be on Sunday. Have a great weekend!
Stay stoked. Morris