The countdown to a meter of fresh snow for the high alpine has started!


By meteomorris on 2 November 2017 · 0

It will be snowing above 2000 meters this weekend. It's November, the Mediterranean is still warm and the temperature at the north pole is dropping every day due to the lack of sunshine. November is a month that can provide fireworks. The clash between cold air and a warm sea often results in huge amounts of snow on the southern side of the (French) Alps and the regions north and west of it (as long as the cold air is allowed to travel that far south). In this forecast: e

  • A small bug in the forecast
  • Lots of snow for the high alpine
  • From a south(western) Stau via a snow sandwich to a retour d'est?
  • Turbulent weekend: save your euros

A small bug in the forecast

After a long test period, we have been running our own weather model since this season and we are pleased with the first results. The forecast for the snowfall with not that much snow for the western Alps last weekend was good. The wind, temperature and cloud maps are also performing very well. But we are dealing with a bug in our model. Our maps and data currently show too much snowfall in the valleys, even though it is often (too) hot. We are now fixing this issue and we are almost there. The first results are very good and we hope to provide you with the right data and maps within a couple of days. Just don't have a look at the data for the valleys for now. Thanks!

Lots of snow for the high alpine

There will be a lot of snow coming down next week, but not everywhere and with some side notes. And don't forget: It's only November. The following three things apply to this dump:

  1. This will be the first real dump for most regions in the Alps. The snow that will come down the next couple of days will form the base for the rest of the winter.

Tip: check out this article about my perfect winter

  1. The snow line is relatively high. The largest part of the dump will come down with a relatively high freezing level (around 1900-2300 meters). The snow line fluctuates between 1700-2000 meters, but can drop to 1200 meters thanks to intense precipitation. But that drop in temperature is very local and when the precipitation intensity decreases, the temperature will immediately rise. The most snow will come down above 2000-2200 meters the next couple of days.
  2. A lot of snow will come down, but it will be humid. The biggest dumps often come down during the beginning or the end of the winter. This is because it is on average a bit warmer during those periods and therefore there's more moisture in the air. In addition, it is often still pretty warm, which results in a high snow line and there's a lot of moistuire in the snow. The combination of a lot of snow (= mass) and humid snow (= also mass) means that the snow will settle pretty fast because of its own weight. A meter of snow can quickly shrink to half a meter of snow. In short: our snow maps forecast a lot of snow (and that snow will exactly fall), but because the snow settles, the snow cover will always be less than forecasted.

Tip: check out this article 'How much fresh snow?!: the discussion about centimeters'.

Dumps like this are perfect for the high alpine. A couple of these dumps result in a much more stable snow pack at the start of the season. A couple thick layers of snow simply form a better base than lots of thin layers with cold snow.

Tip: Do you ride out-of-bounds evey now and then? Check out Mountain Academy

From a south(western) Stau via a snow sandwich to a retour d'est?

That's a mouthful of 'incrowd' terms. Check out yesterday's forecast and you'll understand what I'm talking about. In short:

  • A strong wind from the southwest with precipitation on Saturday. The first snow will come down in the French southern Alps and on the southern side of the Alps. The temperatures are relatively high on the Austrian glaciers due to a Föhn wind, but with room for the sun.
  • The precipitation will intensify south of the main alpine ridge in the night to Sunday. It will snow heavily south of the main alpine ridge especially from sunday morning and the snow line begins to drop from 2200 meters to 1500 meters. There's a storm on the Austrian glaciers and the lifts might close.
  • The cold front is expected from the west in the morning / around noon (note: this timing may change in the couple of days). This is the moment where is not only snowing on the southern side of the Alps, but it will also starts to snow in the French northern Alps and western Switzerland. The snowfall will extend to Austria in the night to Monday. The snow line drops deep into the valleys in the complete Alps.

This results in some bright colors on the snow maps. Check out all the details here.

A lot of snow will come down till Monday. A Stau from the south(west), a cold front from the west with continuous snowfall in the south (the snow sandwhich) and the only thing you're missing here is the retour d'est. A Genoa-low will kick in on Monday according to the calculations and this storm depression may even result in snowfall in Italy. I say 'may' because it is still uncertain. Genoa depressions are difficult to forecast, but there is a chance and that offers perspective and gives our maps even more color.

Tip: If you want to look into the future, become a wePowder Pro member. You'll get access to the 14-day forecast and more detailed weather and terrain options. And it works for your karma as well, because you support the development of the wepowder platform.

Turbulent weekend: save your euros

I'm happy with the snow that's in the forecast, but I'm not going to the Alps this weekend. This snowfall is the first snow for a lot of glaciers (except the ones in Austria). The conditions on the glaciers in France, Switzerland and Italy will definitely improve and the skiing will be good after the weekend. More details tomorrow!

Stay stoked Morris


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