It's finally snowing again in the northern Alps. This is the first significant snow that falls after almost a month. It was needed and we are not there yet. About 5-25 cm of snow came down on average, with local outliers towards 40 to 50 cm. A depression east of the Alps begins to lose its grip and with a the last clouds are pressed against the northern side of the Alps due to a current from the northeast. A lot of snow came down particularly in the north-east of Austria, but the quantities are rapidly decreasing further to the west. Check out some webcam images from east to west below.
The further you got to the west, the thinner the new snow cover. It is still snowing lightly today, but don't expect significant amounts anymore. It is a beginning though. At the same time it is just sunny in the southwest of the Alps. There is a strong wind in the south due to the northeastern current. The avalanche services that are already operational warn because of the wind for the wind-drifted snow that arose in a short time. That can be read in the Swiss avalanche forecast, but also in the services of the Piedmont and Lombardia. The loose snow from last weekend has turned itself into a snow cover that is tense in many places. The passage of a single skier or boarder may already be enough to cause a avalanche. The beauty of the weekend is gone and it requires a little more knowledge to safely navigate through the snow landscape outside the slopes. The second picture below clearly shows the influence of the wind and experts immediately see the wind-drifted snow.
TIP: read this article 'How do you read the avalanche forecast?'
From Wednesday onwards the Alps will have to deal with a mild southern current. The current in the Alps turns to south on the approach of a strong depression above the Atlantic Ocean with a core pressure of 955 Mbar (which is very low). This ensures a powerful southern Föhn, especially on Thursday and Friday. Something you can see on the Föhn charts. It is already sunny on the higher peaks on Wednesday, but persistent clouds in the valleys cause cold and grey weather in the Alps. But when the Föhn comes in on Thursday, the fresh snow from Monday and Tuesday on the north side of the Alps will disappear like snow in the sun.
An active front that's part of the monster depression arrives at the European mainland in the night from Thursday to Friday. When the front moves into the Mediterranean, a sub-depression is created that will get stronger. This storm will determine the weather in large parts of the Alps at the start of the weekend. It will already start snowing in the western and southern Alps on Friday, while there's still a warm Föhn in the northern Alps. There will be a cold front coming in from the west in the course of the Friday / night to Saturday, and the Alps will end up in a snow sandwich.
The snow line in the south and southwest will drop towards the 1200 and locally even 700 meters, at first at 1400 meters in the French Northern Alps and the Northern Alps. The quantities are not entirely clear yet, but you can expect at least a significant amount of snow for the high alpine. Have a look at our snow maps below.
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The current turns to the south to southwest again after passage of the storm on Friday. It looks as if the jet stream will be located to the north of the Alps, with which the Alps will be in the supply of hot air from the south. Most of the models now hint at a scenario with mild weather until the 5th of December. Whether that really will work out like that is not sure yet. It's still autumn and traditionally the long-term forecasts are not performing that well in this time of the year. There is certainly hope that winter will return after the snowfall from Friday-Saturday, but the indications on the weather maps are not yet available. The nice thing about the dynamics in the models at the moment is that everything is going on in the atmosphere and that the weather is very similar to the daily prices at the stock market. In short: a lot can happen.
Stay stoked, Morris