It's finally snowing again in the northern Alps. After last week's rain and high temperatures the conditions are improving today. You can expect 15-30 cm of snow (locally even 40 cm) in the northern Alps. The sun will come out again on Saturday, but a new storm is coming in on Tuesday and this storm will bring A LOT of snow. The biggest question marks are the exact direction of the storm and the freezing level. In this forecast:
Storm Thomas brings fresh snow to the northern Alps today. Already 10-20 cm of snow already came down north of the Swiss northern alpine ridge and you can expect the same amount the next couple of hours. It's also snowing in the north of the French northern Alps and west of the Arlberg in Austria. The other regions in the northern Alps won't get that much snow, but 5-20 cm of fresh snow is better than nothing. The snow line is dropping rapidly to 500-800 meters and locally even lower.
Lots of fresh snow and (temporarily) low temperatures will make sure that Friday and Saturday will be powder days. Especially Saturday can be a good day (if you're around). Lots of tourists will drive back home, and a new batch is arriving. It will be busy on the roads on Saturday, but it won't be that busy in the resorts. My PowderAdvice would be the resorts in the Swiss northern alpine ridge (Engelberg, Sörenberg, Gstaad en Stoos), the resorts west of the Arlberg in Austria (Lech, Zürs etc) and the most northern resorts of the French northern Alps (Portes du Soleil, Flaine).
A low pressure system named Geri will be right above the Alps tomorrow. The days are therefore mild and sunny and the nights are cold and clear. You can still find good snow on north faces, but don't underestimate the influence of the sun on south facing slopes. Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be sunny days. Saturday is still relatively cool, but Sunday and Monday will be mild again.
A monster storm is developing itself and will dominate the weather in the Alps from Monday till at least Thursday. And that's not that strange with a core pressure of 950 hPA. The biggest question marks are the exact storm path and the freezing level.
I've been pretty careful with the storm path the last couple of days and that's for a reason. The direction of the storm path is shifting a bit run after run and this could be the difference between a huge dump or a dusting of snow. lt's because of the jetstream that I'm pretty careful. The jet stream will come from the west early next week and a shift of 100 kilometers to the north or the south already has major consequences for the snow line, but also which regions will get the most snow. Still, the outlines are clear, but the details aren't.
The Alps will have to deal with a current from the southwest. This will result in a southern Föhn north of the main alpine ridge and snow south of the main alpine ridge. It's pretty important if the isobaric lines will be west-south-west or south-south-west. There are two possible scenarios:
Scenario 1: The storm will bring fresh snow to the southern Alps at first and to the western and northern Alps later. The jetstream will eventually end up more to the south in this scenario and it will remain pretty cold in the Alps. This scenario was calculated by the European weather model yesterday, but the American weather didn't agree.
So what does it mean? There's lots of snow on the maps (in the high alpine) for the northwest of the Alps, but we'll have to wait and see what will happen in the rest of the Alps. Will it be a dusting of snow or a big dump (maybe with some rain) from Tuesday the 28th? I prefer the first scenario, but the most important weather models prefer the second scenario. We'll see what will happen! I'll keep you posted!
Stay stoked. Morris