Ready? Set? Go! A classic storm brings back winter to the north side of the main alpine ridge during Easter. A low pressure area is ready to kick in. This will result in 'winter conditions' again in large parts of Switzerland and Austria from Saturday afternoon. The snow line will drop towards 1000 meters in the German speaking areas in the Alps and we can expect at least five days with temperatures below zero below 1500 meters. Yes, PowderAlert #16 is here! In this forecast:
The jet stream will turn to the northwest this weekend and cold polar air will come in. The freezing level is around 2500 to 3000 meters right now, but it will drop to 1200 meters in Austria and Switzerland on Monday. That's a huge drop in temperature thanks to the incoming cold air. Check out the map below where you can see the green bubble with cold air coming in from the northwest.
There's a lot of moisture present in this cold and unstable layer of air that's forced to snow empty on the north side of the main alpine ridge. You can expect a lot of snowfall and rapidly dropping temperatures on the north side of the main alpine ridge and sun and higher temperatures on the south side of the main alpine ridge from Saturday. You can check this out in the Föhn chart below.
This remarkable difference is also clearly visible on the maps with the clouds. There are a lot of clouds (and precipitation) visible on the north side of the main alpine ridge, but there's sunshine on the south side of the main alpine ridge.
Saturday will still be pretty mild with rain and snow across the Alps. The snow line can still be found at pretty high altitude. Cold air will arrive in the course of Saturday afternoon/evening and the snow line will drop in the night to Sunday. It will start snowing heavily on the north side of the main alpine ridge (think every resort east of the Jungfrau region). At the same time, the temperatures on the south side of the main alpine ridge start rising, thanks to the Föhn from the north.
The sun will come out in the west and south of the Alps on Sunday, but unstabel cold air will keep coming in on the north side of the main alpine ridge. This will result in some sunshine and some snowfall in the north. The clouds will get thicker during the day and it will snow heavily again on the north side of the Alps in the night from Sunday to Monday. A new front will come in on Monday and that won't only bring snow to the north side of Switzerland and Austria, but also to the north of the French Alps.
It will stay cold after Monday and the current will keep on coming from the north to northeast. The result is that it will keep on snowing on the north side of the main alpine ridge and thanks to the eastern component, the Dolomites can also expect some snow. Winter is back for a week!
The resorts in Austria and Switzerland with enough terrain above 2000 meters are the way to go. Keep in mind that you pick a resort east of the Jungfrau Region in Switzerland. Or even better: Engelberg and pretty much every resort east of it is a safe bet. The resorts in the northern French Alps will only get some snow from Monday. Anyway, the visibility will be poor, the temperature will drop and I'd ride powder on the slopes. There's a time for better lines when the sun comes out, but pay attention to the clouds that could stick to your favorite runs thanks to that unstable layer in the atmosphere.
Again, the resorts in the nortwhest of the Alps might get some snow from Monday. More about that on Sunday. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask them in the comments!
Stay stoked. Morris