Tuesday was a mild and sunny day in the Alps with temperatures well above zero at 2000 meters altitude. Wednesday starts sunny, just like the last couple of days, but there will be higher clouds coming in from the northwest in the course of the day. It's an indication that a front is approaching and you can expect some snowfall. It will start in the northwest of the Alps (northern French Alps, the west, north and east of Switzerland and Vorarlberg), but it will expand to the border region of Italy, Slovenia and Austria later this week. In this forecast:
The map above is the expectation for Thursday. A warm front will arrive on Wednesday. The light will become a bit diffuse and high clouds reach the Alps from the northwest. The clouds are getting thicker during the day. The first precipitation will come down in the northwest of the Alps in the evening, with the snow line dropping to 1200 to 1500 meters in the night to Thursday. Cold air arrives in the Alps from the northwest on Thursday and it will continue to snow.
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With a current that's turning to the northwest, the northwest of the Alps will be in the line of fire at first. The most fresh snow is expected in the French northern Alps, the west and north of Switzerland, the Kleinwalsertal and the Austrian Vorarlberg until the weekend. I expect it to keep on snowing until Friday and you can expect 15-30, locally 40-50 cm of fresh snow. The snowfall falls on a thick and pretty stable snow cover. The existing snow cover has managed to stabilize itself after the enormous precipitation peaks of recent weeks, which offers perspective for next weekend. Keep in mind that it was mild and the snow will freeze the next couple of days. Cold snow will fall on top of a hard layer. You'll need at least 30 cm to ride powder without feeling that hard layer all the time.
You can see a small T on the map above map. This small depression causes a southwestern current in the eastern southern Alps. And that's something different with the Piedmont getting the most snow the last couple of dumps. This small depression turned into a big storm according to the calculations of the last 36 hours. It will bring a lot of snow to the eastern southern Alps on Thursday and Saturday.
When we're talking about the eastern southern Alps, we mean the resorts south of the main alpine ridge east of the Brenner pass:
There's a big mountain range in this region: the Karnischer Alpen or the Karnische alpine ridge. This chain of mountains regularly block the incoming clouds from the south to southwest, allowing it to snow heavily, especially on the border between Italy, Austria and Slovenia. A region like Süd Tirol on the other hand will get less snow because it is blocked by the Dolomites on the south, by the main alpine ridge on the north and by the Karnische alpine ridge in the east. Just like in the rest of the Alps, the eastern southern Alps also have resorts that will get more and others will get less snow.
The regions that border the east of the southern Alps are:
The Italian region of Lombardia is typically a region that's right in the middle of the western and the eastern southern Alps. It all depends on the path of the storm if it will get a lot of snow or not. The reason I also mention the south of the Salzburgerland and the southernmost areas of Tyrol is because storms from the south contain more moisture and as a result the highest peaks of Tyrol (Obergurgl and Hohe Tauern) also benefit from snowfall from the south, especially when a snow sandwich (snow from north and south) is hammering the Hohe Tauern. But the center of the eastern southern Alps are the areas mentioned earlier with special attention to the border of Italy, Austria and Slovenia.
When the cold air from the northwest flows into the Po-valley on Thursday, a low pressure area is formed that (with a southwestern current), will push the clouds against the mountains of the eastern southern Alps. This initially results in a lot of snow in Lombardia, the west of Trentino and the southwest of the Engadin (and as mentioned before also on the north side of the main alpine ridge, because cold air is still flowing into Austria). It will snow heavily where those two fronts from the southwest and northwest meet. The center of gravity can be initially found in the Hohe Tauern and the highest peaks of the Austrian alpine ridge, but moves more and more towards the border region of Italy, Austria and Slovenia. It will snow heavily especially in the night to Friday and on Friday itself. You can expect 40-70, locally more than 100 cm of fresh snow.
The Alps will have to deal with some high pressure after Friday. The precipitation will calm down and there is some room for the sun. The high pressure area will stick around for a while, but there are a couple of storms trying to get in.
You can block your agenda on Friday. The riding will be pretty good in the northwest of the Alps on Friday. I will keep you up to date on Thursday and tell you where to go in the northwest of the Alps on Friday. It will be even better in the southeast, but the models remain dynamic, so tune in tomorrow and know where to go on Friday. The riding will be good in the border region Italy-Austria-Slovenia.
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Stay stoked. Morris.