Storm Reinhard fights its way into the Alps


By meteomorris on 22 November 2017 · 0

Storm after storm is hitting the Alps this autumn. And there's another one coming up. Storm Reinhardt doesn't seem to care about the high-pressure areas and computer calculations and fights his way to the Alps. We only one good storm cycle last winter in November, but Reinhardt is already the fourth storm in November this year and chances are that we can expect a fifth storm as well. In this forecast:

  • Mild temperatures until Saturday
  • Lots of positive points
  • New storm cycle coming in on Friday
  • More storms on the long term?

Mild temperatures until Saturday

The Alps are dealing with mild air right now. The freezing level fluctuates around 2000-2400 meters and it rained up to an altitude of 1500-1800 meters in Austria on Tuesday. Three drama winters in a row left its marks on the soul of freeriders and this kind of development is not really what we're waiting for. It remains mild due to a strong wind from the southwest until Saturday, but cold air comes in from the northwest in the course of Saturday. You can check it out below. The Alps are still in the mild current from the southwest (red arrow), but it gets colder from the northwest (blue arrow) in the weekend.

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Lots of positive points

I'm quite positive about the start of the winter, especially compared to the last three ones:

  • The cycle of a storm during the weekend with milder temperatures right after is already going on for four weeks and although the maps show ever-increasing high-pressure dominance, the storms just keep on coming.
  • There's more snow in large parts of the Alps above 2000 meters compared to the last three winters.
  • The absence of high pressure and the clear cold nights ensure that the avalanche services are quite positive about the development of the snow cover. Especially on the north side of the main alpine ridge there aren't any signals that we'll have to deal with an 'old snow problem'.

New storm cycle coming in on Friday

The Alps are facing a current from the southwest for the first time this month. The temperatures is now quite high, but that is going to change. The first fronts of storm Reinhardt will reach the Alps on Friday. The wind is still coming from the southwest and you can see the impact on the image below. The map on the left shows that we are dealing with a southern Föhn, the map in the middle shows the temperature at eye level (it is almost everywhere above zero degrees in the Alps right now) and you can see the temperature at 850 hPa (around 1400 meters) on the last map. Thanks to the southern Föhn it remains colder on the south side of the main alpine ridge (blue arrow) than on the north side of the main alpine ridge (red arrow).

The wind is still southwest on Saturday, but will turn to the northwest during the day when the cold front comes in. This will probably happen:

  • Friday to Saturday: incoming precipitation in the French southern Alps, south of the Mont Blanc and south of the Matterhorn and the Gotthard. Snow line around 2000 meters.
  • Saturday: cold air arrives in the Alps and a snow sandwich will form around the Alps. It will start snowing from the southwest before the cold front arrives. The snow line will be relatively high (dropping towards 1400 meters on the south side of the main alpine ridge). After the passage of the cold front the snowfall will come from the northwest and the snow line will drop towards 500-800 meters. You can expect about 10-30 cm, locally 45 cm of fresh snow above 1800 meters. Check out the snow forecast for the next 6 days below.

The front is already east of the Alps on Sunday and then moves further away to the east. The sun will come out and it will be a powder day. It will be just deep enough for a good powder day. More details on Friday.

More storms on the long term?

There's still a chance that November will end with another storm. The models have been showing a scenario that will result in more snow at the end of November for a few days already and that is no different today. All the major models forecast a new storm for the middle of next week.

That's also visible on our snow maps for the long term. The maps show a lot of colors and that offers perspective. Of course there will be some changes in the map below, but a perspective like this is just great. If you want to look further into the future, become a wePowder Pro member and get access to our 14-day snow maps. You will never miss a dump again, but you'll also support us with the further development of wePowder. Thank you very much for your support.

It looks like that high-pressure area Zoë, which would dominate the Alps until November 27th, has fooled the weather models. Because no one could suspect a week ago that she would leave the Alps this soon. Anyway, I'm pretty excited that she's leaving and I think I'll make my first trip to the Alps in December. Until that time I'll keep working on my knowledge and keep an eye on the weather and the development of the snow cover!

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Stay stoked, Morris


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