When will the Big Change happen?

By meteomorris on 13 December 2016 · 2

It will be exciting days. The Big Change scenario coming from the south (check out the forecast from yesterday) is visible on the maps again. It's striking that the European model is more convinced than the American model. Since our snow maps our powered by the European model, you can see some colors popping up again. In this forecast:

  • The Big Change
  • Some color on the snow maps
  • What about a white Christmas for the northern Alps?

The Big Change

The American model already offers something that looks like hope for four days. It's hinting on a disruption from the south. A low pressure area should form over Spain and this will create a current from the southeast between the high pressure area above the Alps and the low pressure area above Spain. In this scenario, extremely cold air coming from the continent will fill the Italian Po Valley.

There's lots of humidity in that region and the current will pick up extra moisture in the Adriatic Sea. This combination of cold air and moisture will hit the mountains at the border of Italy and France and the mountains at the border of Italy and Switzerland. This could be the jackpot. If it all happens.

It's a scenario that I've named the Big Change. It could break the high pressure area that's dominating the Alps for over two weeks, keeping all the storms at distance.

It's striking that the American model is less optimistic about the short term this morning, but the European model is quite positive. Check out the calculations from both models for this Sunday/Monday. The European model (ECMWF) spots a new storm in the Mediterranean, but GFS (the American model) is a bit pessimistic about the speed with which the storm is coming in.

A storm over the Mediterranean is an important condition for a big dump. The more powerful the storm is, the higher the chances on lots of colors on the snowmaps. The next 144 hours (or 12 calculations of the ECMWF and 24 calculations from GFS) will make clear which scenario will become a reality. Exciting!

Snow for the Piedmont
Snow for the Piedmont

TIP: check out our detailed snow maps of the Alps

Some color on the snow maps

The European calculations lead to the colors on the maps visible above. But the locations of the colors (and the colors itself) will change regularly the next 144 hours. The dynamics of a storm from the Mediterranean will take care of the many changes. It is thereby still possible that all the colors will disappear from the snow maps of the Alps, but they might pop up on the snow maps of the Pyrenees.

TIP: check out our detailed snow maps of the Pyrenees

That Big Change from the south will happen right? If it will be the 18/19th of December, or maybe even the 22nd of December. But the Big Change will happen. Let's see what will happen the next couple of days.

What about a white Christmas for the northern Alps?

Well, the last run of GFS was a pretty good one. But since it's only the first time this outcome is showing itself, i don't take it too seriously. Yet. But then again, it's a start. According to GFS the storm from the Mediterranean will actually crush that high pressure area and will make its way to the north side of the main alpine ridge on the 24th of December. And yes, if that happens it's just in time for a white Christmas in Austria. Let's see what will happen. It will be exciting, but also very interesting days.

Keep on dancing!

In short... keep doing your snow dance. There are rumors that the frequency waves of snow dancing freeriders are a major factor in breaking through a high-pressure blockade. There is no evidence that this is true, but it is not proven that it doesn't work either. Until then, I keep on dancing. Will you join me?

Stay stoked. Morris


  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 13 December 2016 · 14:02
    The last calculating of GFS is as pessimistic as this morning. The storm in the Mediterranean Sea is moving slower than expected towards the Alps and will aim its precipitation for the eastern Pyrenees.

    Compare the map above with the map of ECMWF below and you will probably notice the differences:

    But at least there is something positive for the Alps on both runs: the end of the high pressure dominance is visible on the maps more often!
    May the powder be with you.
  • jamesjung
    jamesjung op 14 December 2016 · 19:09
    Thanks for the intel, Mateo. Not ideal but better weather than the Alps are currently experiencing. Is there any chance of snow in the Arlberg between Christmas and New Year's?


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