The period of mild and very sunny weather has come to end due to the incoming cold front. It's clouded in the entire Alps right now and it's still snowing in the northwest. This front will move to the Po-valley the next 12 hours and turns into a small storm depression that will hit the southern Alps and especially the Alpe Adria. In this forecast:
You can see the cold front that arrived in the Alps last night on the map above. It is the big blue line that sinks into the Alps via northwestern Europe. The air just before the front comes in is a bit milder, but its passage the air gets colder and the air gets dryer. This front already brought 10-20 cm, locally 30 cm of fresh snow in the northern French Alps (check this article about the French Alps and western Switzerland (as in western Wallis). The further east and south you go, the amounts of snow that came down become less and less. 10-25 cm on top of a hard layer is just not enough. For a good PowderAlert you need at least 25 cm on top of a hard layer, in order not to feel that layer anymore. The measuring stations are showing higher numbers here an there, but that means you'll have to search. If you don't mind searching, there's definitely something to be found in the northwest of the Alps. Especially because the wind was pretty calm in the trees (and I'd search there if I were you). Especially in the west of Wallis, the west and north of the Bernese Oberland and the north and northwest of the Haute Savoie you'll be able to find some good snow. It's clearly colder during the weekend and you can still expect a flake coming down once in a while.
The front that arrived in the northwest of the Alps on Thursday morning moved to the Po-valley later today. There's a new storm depression forming in the Po-valley, because cold air tries to move south and milder air tries to find its way north. At the same time, the immense storm depression over Scandinavia north of the Alps is still causing a current from the west-northwest. That looks like this:
The big blue arrow is the cold air from the north, caused by the big depression over Scandinavia. The red arrows are the reaction of the storm depression in the Po-valley. The cold air from the north and the mild, humid air from the south come together above the Hohe Tauern. You can expect a lot of snow coming down here from Thursday to Friday. You can expect 20-50 cm of snow, locally even 70 cm of snow from the southern Ötztal via the southern Zillertal and the Hohe Tauern to the Nockbergen. The more south the better. It will snow heavily especially on the south side of the Hohe Tauern (think of the regions Ost-Tirol and Carinthia, but also the south of the Salzburerland and the most southern regions of central Tyrol will get snow. The further north, the less snow will come down.
The storm depression from the Po-valley moves further south in the night to Friday. The center of gravity of the precipitation moves to the Alpe Adria (the border area between Italy, Austria and Slovenia). The cold air from the north has passed the main alpine main ridge and mixes with the mild and moist air from the Adriatic Sea. This mix of cold air and moisture creates deep winter conditions in this region. You can expect 50-70 cm, locally even 100 cm of fresh snow until Saturday. The snow line that initially can be found around 900 meters will drop to 500 meters in the course of the Friday and Saturday. And in case you're wondering what the Alpe Adria exactly are, the mountains border these regions:
It will snow heavily until Saturday morning. The snowfall will decrease after Saturday.
The shifting calculations of the weather model this week once again show how important flexibility is. 'Never book too early!' and definitely read this article How to plan your powder trip: 10 tips! and this article These 5 things result in a perfect PowderAlert. The beauty of a perfect road trip is in the details and those who go more often learn a lot more. The waiting game was on the last 96 hours. Anyone who decides too soon will soon end up in his own tunnel (vision) and will sometimes make wrong choices. These are the options for the weekend:
Treeruns in the northwest with 10-25 cm, locally 30-40 cm of fresh snow:
The Hohe Tauern with 30-50, locally 70 cm of fresh snow. But keep in mind that the wind is strong, because many resorts have few tree run options. You can think of the ski areas in:
Last but not least the Alpe Adria. You can expect a lot of snow the next 48 hours. Probably so much that resorts will remain closed, like the Sella Nevea which often closes with heavy snowfall. But there are more resorts:
The air around the Alps remains unstable on Saturday and Sunday. It's cold. At best, you have two days of sun, but it is more realistic to expect a mix of snow and sun.
The jetstream has shown its phlegmatic side the last couple of days and we also need to consider a jet stream that continues to react moderately to changes in the long term. A jet stream that's not that strong results in room for low pressure areas in the Mediterranean. The storm of last week (snow in the Piemonte) and the storm of today shows that the devil is in the details. In other words: it will be considerably colder the next couple of days, the jet stream is not particularly strong, but with unstable air in the Mediterranean there is room for small storms that can locally bring a lot of snow.
Checking of our weather maps and reading our weather forecast on a daily basis is a must not to miss a flake. Let's head to the Alpe Adria. Oh yeah, one more thing: did you ride powder this winter thanks to wePowder or this forecast? Become wePowder Pro. Your support is highly appreciated!
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Stay stoked, Morris