Hold your horses, PowderAlert #16 from Saturday

By meteomorris on 15 February 2018 · 1

Wednesday was a beautiful day in the west of the French Alps. Around 5-15 cm of fresh snow came down in the night to Wednesday, but the sun returned quickly. The sun also came out in the rest of the Alps and with some hiking and touring you could certainly ride some freshies. There are two kinds of weather in the Alps today. It's cloudy in the western Alps with a rapidly rising snow line (towards 1800-2200 meters), and it will remain sunny in the eastern Alps for a long time. It will be colder on Friday and Saturday with a dropping snow line and as a result the snow will fall lower on the mountain again. It will be sunny on Sunday and Austria might expect a small northern Stau in the beginning of the week, although this is still speculation. In this forecast:

  • Rain (and some snow) kicks in after the sunshine
  • Snow follows after the rain
  • PowderAlert #16 for Saturday and Sunday
  • Long term? That's quite uncertain

Engelberg on Wednesday (c) eliaslundh
Engelberg on Wednesday (c) eliaslundh

Rain (and some snow) kicks in after the sunshine

A warm front arrived in the northern French Alps last night and it's expanding towards the west and north of Switzerland right now. It is still snowing there, but the snow line will rise steadily over the next few hours. The snow line rises rapidly in the pre-Alps. This will also take place deeper in the Alps later today. The precipitation will mostly come down as rain especially in the pre-Alps. The snow line might rise to 2200 meters in the northern French Alps and western Switzerland. It will hopefully end up around 1800 meters deeper in the Alps.

It's still cold (er) and the sun is still shining in Austria. It also starts to snow and rain deeper in the valleys over here in the night to Friday. The first snow reaches the west of Austria after lunch and it takes until the end of the day before clouds and snowfall reach the east of Austria. Same story over here. First snow deep into the valleys, but towards the end of the day the snow line rises from the west to 1200 meters and later even higher.

Snow follows after the rain

It will snows and rain in the complete northern Alps on Friday with the northwest as the center of gravity. A cold front pulls into the Alps and the snow line drops to 600 to 1200 meters. With a little bit of luck (in the east of) the eastern Alps can see some rain in the valleys, but snowfall in the high alpine. A new front will enter the Alps with snow for the northern French Alps and the northern Alps on Saturday. The snow line fluctuates between 1200 meters in the west and 500 meters in the east.

The front above arrives in the French Alps in the night to Saturday and reaches the west and north of Switzerland and the Black Forest in the early morning. It arrives in Vorarlberg and western Tirol later that morning. This front can cause some trouble on Saturday (when tourists are leaving and coming in). Especially the last kilometers towards the ski areas can be slippery. Saturday will be a 'black Saturday' in France and you can expext a lot of traffic on the roads. That will cause delays at the toll booths and especially the last kilometers will cause some problems, because not every car will have winter tires. Same story in Austria. Either arrive very early, or end of day is my advice for arriving traffic.

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PowderAlert #16 for Saturday and Sunday

The most snow will come down in the northwest of the Alps between Thursday morning and Saturday night. The snow line will be situated pretty high at first, but drops during the weekend. I expect the best conditions on Saturday (with bad visibility) and especially on Sunday (with sun) above 2000 meters in the following regions:

Long term? That's quite uncertain

The scenario is not clear after the weekend. High pressure will make an attempt to influence the weather in the Alps by heading towards the north of the Alps. There are still two scenarios possible. In the first scenario you can expect a northern Stau on the eastern flank of this high pressure area. In the second scenario, the high pressure area occupies the region north of the Alps and creates instability in the Mediterranean. The result is an eastern current with snow chances for the southern Alps and the east of the Alps. The models favoured the northern Stau scenario on Tuesday, the high pressure and sun scenario on Wednesday morning and the last run indicates a northern Stau for Austria again. Let's hope the models will be a bit more steady on Friday.

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Stay stoked! Morris


  • arslonga
    arslonga op 16 February 2018 · 14:43
    but why in
    Cortina the forecast was 5 cm and....... 😃 😃
    non rompete il c**** al cavaliere nero....


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