Can we expect the first big dump around October 23rd, just like last winter? Last winter, the Alps experienced a fantastic Indian Summer until the first snow came down on October 22nd and we could enjoy these kind of pictures on October 23rd. That was pretty amazing. The forecast for next week is looking quite similar with snowfall on October 23rd. What are the odds?
All major weather models are currently calculating a scenario in which the Alps will get hammered by a cold northern current from Tuesday October 23rd. A strong current from the north to northwest is formed between a powerful high pressure area above the Atlatic Ocean and a storm depression above Scandinavia. This transports cold and unstable air to the south.
On the weather maps of the ECMWF and GFS above you see a classic northern Stau situation. Cold unstable air travels through the warmer waters of the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea towards the Alps. Because of the enormous differences between the water temperature and the upper air, a lot of moisture will be absorbed. The resulting clouds move via Germany towards the north side of the main alpine ridge, collide with the mountains, are forced to rise, it all cools down and it starts to snow.
TIP: if you want to know more about a northern Stau, check out this article.
The snow maps of the models show the expected snow nicely. I love to see the colors on our snow maps again. Not that I'm going to wax my board right now and head towards the Alps. The glaciers have had a hard time last summer and if you look at the Instagram post from the glacier of Kaprun below you'll see what we mean. The Alps really need fresh snow and rain!
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The crew at the Kitzsteinhorn did a really great job getting the slopes in shape. So little snow, and they still managed to create good training possibilities! And yes, it's icy. Makes it tough, makes it a mental game, but so worth training. Let's use this to get better! And my athletes did. No complaining, but attacking. Proud of them! #gforce #bambi
TIP: if you want more details about this storm, check out our snow maps
There's still about 120 hours to go between now and October 23rd. That is a quite lot in the world of weather forecasting. Five full days in which everything can happen. For example, there might be even more snow coming down than forecasted right now, but then the high pressure area will be situated a bit more to the west. This allows the northern current to reach the Alps over a larger width and the air pressure to be even lower (which is good for the instability and the moisture absorption). But it is also possible that the high-pressure area will be further to the east. In this case, the northern current will gently touch the Alps, while at the same time the air pressure will rise with (much) less snow as a result. The next 120 hours will show us what it will be!
The models are positive about snow from the 23rd for the northern Alps. They also calculate snow for the days up to the end of the month. A northern Stau of a week would be nice and it will form an interesting base for a great season.
In short: there is a big chance of considerable amounts of snow in the northern Alps between the 23rd and 29th of October. You don't have to expect much snow in the southern Alps. The resorts in the main alpine ridge and around the Ortler will pick up some snow, but the other regions south of the main alpine ridge (almost) nothing. The French Alps don't have to expect much snow as well and there's currently no snow in the forecast for the southern French Alps. There is a chance of snow for the French northern Alps, but that all depends on the positioning of the high pressure area next week. To be continued!
TIP: Check out this article if you want to know the difference between the northern and southern French Alps