Yes, the first significant snowfall of winter 2017-2018 has begun. Snow will be coming down in different regions in the Alps the next five days. And that fresh snow will form the base of the season (at least above 2000 meters). In this forecast:
It's snowing in parts of over 2000 meters in parts of the French southern Alps, the Italian Piemonte, Aosta and Lombardia since Saturday 5.54 PM. It also started snowing in the Swiss ski areas south of the main alpine ridge the last couple of hours. The peaks are getting white again in Ticino and the south of Graubünden, the Engadin. It's dumping at the moment and that already resulted in some nice images. The snow line is dropping rapidly and is already around 1600-1900 meters. The snow line will drop even further the next couple of hours due to the incoming cold air and the intensity of the precipitation. The picture below was taken on Sunday morning in Sestrière and more snow will come down over there the next couple of hours.
The Italian Dolomites and the glaciers in Austria still have to deal with a warm Föhn wind and rain up to high altitude, but that will change the next couple of hours. A very active storm called Karl will settle itself south of the Alps and is getting ready for some fireworks. Check out storm Karl below on the left and our snow forecast for the next 6 days.
Storm depression Karl is clamped between high pressure above the Atlantic Ocean and high pressure above Russia the next couple of days. The current from the west to the east in the upper air layer comes to a stop, which allows Karl to pick up some cold air from the north and sticks around in the Alps. This will result in five days of (heavy) snowfall in the complete Alps. This will be the first base of the season for the complete Alps.
It started snowing on Saturday afternoon and the cold front is on its way to the Alps right now. The first cold air is reaching the west of the French northern Alps. It already started snowing in the French southern Alps yesterday and it's snowing in the French northern Alps right now as well. You can see the world getting white again on the webcams of the ski resorts in the Haute Savoie, Savoie and the Isère and I expect it to continue snowing for a while. Check out some images from Les Gets, La Plagne and Chamrousse.
It's not only snowing on the southern side of main alpine ridge, but it's also snowing on the north side of the Alps. The cold front is expanding to the east the next couple of hours, but it doens't go fast. It is snowing heavily in Switzerland this afternoon and it will also start snowing in Austria by the end of the afternoon. Check out the five steps below. The big picture is the snowfall right now and then from the left to the right the expansion to Switzerland and Vorarlberg, the snowfall in Austria with the main alpine ridge as center of gravity, a continuous current from the north on Monday and a retour d'est. Check out the forecast page and click on all the different days and maps for all the details.
The snow line will drop the next couple of hours and the snow will fall deep into the valleys especially in Switzerland and Austria. The snow line will drop to 1000 meters at the end of the afternoon and it will even drop further during the night. You can expect 10-30 cm, locally 50 cm of fresh snow above 1000 meters in Austria and Switzerland. There's an active weather alarm for Sunday afternoon and especially Monday morning for large parts of Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
You can expect a retour d'est on Monday. A Genoa depression settled itself above the Gulf of Genoa and it will start snowing heavily in the central and southern part of Italian Piedmont. The snow line drops down to 800 meters and will slowly rise during the day.
Storm Karl will still be around after Monday, but it will be less dominant. Nevertheless, it is still snowing in the Alps from time to time, where a some cold air may still bring us a some more snow later in the week. I expect around 30-80 cm of fresh snow above 2000 meters in large parts of the Alps the next five days. This could be even 130-150 cm in those places where hot and cold air collide. The biggest challenge are the French southern Alps. Expect for the resorts close to the Italian border, I don't expect that much snow over there. Some snow will come down on Sunday afternoon/evening, but that's it.
Our weather maps continue to forecast snowfall for the long term and and that's confirmed by the European and American weather models.
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Next update tomorrow!
Stay stoked Morris