Winter is on hold after a week with lots of snow in the high alpine of the western Alps. A large high pressure system will be located above the Alps and will keep storm depressions at a distance. Even the snow that was forecasted for the east of the Alps later this week is pushed away to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In this forecast:
A very strong high-pressure area called Uwe is positioning itself above the Alps. And that high pressure system is present not only at sea level, but also at high altitude. There are no dynamics or whatsoever in the weather right now. The jet stream is thus forced to choose a route that is far away from the Alps. Such stable high pressure systems can block the weather for days or sometimes even weeks. High pressure areas cause typical inversion weather, which means cold air in the valleys. The cold air can't escape because of the clouds and the sun simply doesn't have the power to break through the clouds. Above the clouds however it's sunny. The air is dry and the views are amazing, but the temperature drops rapidly during the night.
This high pressure area could bring us some serious problems. You don't have to expect new snow and the clear nights will bring surface hoar on north faces and other parts of the mountain that lie in the shadow. It could even result in a complete layer of sugar snow that will be a problem with the next dump.
There's a strong current from the north just east of this strong high pressure area. According to the last calculations it's moving to the east. This means only some flakes for the east of the Salzburgerland and Steiermark, but expect lots of snow to come down at the border of Poland and Slovakia.
The long term is still uncertain. The NAO index seems to be positive in the near future and that means as much as high pressure areas keeping storm depressions at a distance from the Alps. They will be send to the north and to the east.
That uncertainty is also due to the role of the high pressure area. History has shown that such high pressure blockages above the Alps can hold for a long time and can keep storm depressions at bay. Just remember the dry spells during November and December of the last two winters. It's not that I want to scare you, but it's time to start your snow dance.
A lot of resorts decided to open their lifts early after the immense snowfall above 2000 meters last week. Vars, Serre Chevalier and Sestrière will open this weekend and you will probably find untracked, lift-accessed powder. I do not exactly which lifts will open, but if you happen to know this, please share it in the comments. Maybe more resorts will open as well, let me know! The conditions in Vars are pretty awesome. Check out the video below from our French editor Sandra who skinned up close to the Col du Vars last Saturday. Check out more pictures in this article.
Next forecast tomorrow!
Stay stoked. Morris