PowderAlert #2 is on its way. Lots of snow in the forecast!

By meteomorris on 4 December 2018 · 2

There is snow in the forecast: winter is on the maps. Nothing is better than to bring good news and make everyone happy. Although, if you know the weather in the Alps it's quite unusual that everyone is happy. A perfect storm like the beginning of November last year is rare. It is not often that a storm brings snow to the entire Alps. Almost always there is a part of the Alps where the wind is strong and there is little to no precipitation. That is no different in the coming week. Almost all the snow will be directed to the northwest and later to the north of the Alps in the coming week. There will be little fresh snow in the French southern Alps and on the south side of the Alps next week. Fortunately the distances in the Alps are relatively small and the connections between south and north via for example the Col du Montgenèvre, Fréjus tunnel, Mont Blanc tunnel, St. Bernard tunnel, Simplonpass, Gotthard tunnel, San Bernardino tunnel, Brenner pass or Tauern tunnel are really good and you can enjoy the snow on the north side of the main alpine ridge early next week. Because there is a lot of snow in the forecast. Powderalert # 2 is in the air! We just have to be patient. The picture below says it all. In this forecast:

  1. Low temperatures on Tuesday
  2. New storm with mild temperatures and high snow line
  3. Winter is coming in!

Low temperatures on Tuesday (number 1 on the map)

It is snowing in the northwest since Sunday, especially in the high alpine between Chambery and the highest peaks of the Arlberg region. The snow line fluctuated continuously between 2000 and 2300 meters. The result is that the snow cover has grown considerably above 2300 meters, while the snow cover between 2000 and 2400 meters is now about 10-40 cm thick. The heavy wet snow, but also sometimes rain, meant that the snow cover could not really grow. But that wasn't the case in the high alpine.

Engelberg early this morning
Engelberg early this morning


Above 2300 meters, about 40-70, locally even 100 cm of fresh snow, came down in the northwest of the Alps, combined with a strong wind. The result is that the avalanche danger in this part of the Alps has risen to CONSIDERABLE or even HIGH.

In the meantime, the current temporarily has turned to the north-northwest and Austria has to deal with some low temperatures today, because cold air is gently touching the Alps for a while. It has been snowing lightly in Damüls since dawn, but it still rains on the artificial snow lower on the mountain. The snow line is expected to drop a bit towards the 1000 meters. At the same time, the precipitation amounts are decreasing rapidly. There's not much snow coming down.

Damüls, light snowfall above 1800 meter
Damüls, light snowfall above 1800 meter

Rain on the lower parts of the mountain
Rain on the lower parts of the mountain

New storm with mild temperatures and high snow line (number 2 on the map)

It will not stay cold for a long time. A new depression follows from the southwest and it is mild again between Wednesday and Friday. The snow line fluctuates around 2000 meters, the supply direction is west to west-northwest and there is some snow coming down in the high alpine of the northwest and north of the Alps. Click on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on our forecast map. The valleys are clearly visible and without any color. In other words: a high snow line. You can expect another 20-50 cm of fresh snow for the high alpine up to and including Friday. Most of the snow will disappear as a result of rain and thaw below 1800-2000 meters. Wednesday starts cool in the east, but warmer air flows into the Alps soon. It is too mild for the time of the year until Friday.

Mild in the Alps
Mild in the Alps

Winter is coming in! (Number 3 on the map)

At the far left of the map is the storm that will bring winter. From the forecast from yesterday: 'It's a classic 'slide scenario'. A depression over Denmark and high pressure over the Atlantic provide a northwestern current. Cold air gets on the slide around Svalbard and then glides full throttle through the jet stream over the North Sea towards the Alps. In such a scenario, the northwest of the Alps will get hit first. When the current flows turns to the north (due to a high pressure area coming in from the west) later, the north Alps get hammered. The snow line drops towards 700 meters in the weekend and possibly even lower with significant snow quantities later.'

And that slide scenario is still up-to-date and looks a bit like this:

  • Saturday: cold air flows into the Alps with a western-northwestern current in the night to Saturday. It will snow in the northwest and later also north of the Alps. Snow line will drop towards 600-1000 meters. There is a stormy wind in the high alpine. There's snow coming down in the main alpine ridge in the southern Alps, but the wind is strong more to the south.
  • Sunday: a warm front will enter the Alps in the night to Sunday. The result is mild air with a lot of moisture. That is good news, because the current turns to the northwest during the course of the morning and a cold front will follow. The warm air is trapped by the cold air and the excess of humid air cools down quickly and produces a lot of snow. The snow line will be locally higher in the morning, but still low in the inner alpine. The snow line will drop to 700 meters and below in the afternoon. You can expect the Föhn to kick in on the south side of the main alpine ridge.
  • Monday: current to the north. The center of gravity of precipitation is thus moving to the entire northern Alps. It's a northern Stau for the first time this winter. There's still a Föhn in the southern Alps and you don't have to expect any significant snow.

Check the currently forecast snowfall for Saturday, Sunday and Monday below. As usual, you will find all details on our forecast page. Especially the long term is interesting.

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Will this storm be too late for a powder weekend?

In the current calculations the storm comes too late for a seriously good powder weekend. Friday is still mild, snow and low temperatures (but also wind) follow on Saturday. A lot of wind. Because there is only a base on the glaciers in the northern Alps, it's not perfect yet. I will skip next weekend. I save my euros for better times, possibly after the weekend. It will still snow in the north after the weekend and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be nice powder days. My plan for this weekend is to monitor the snow falls and keep you up to date with articles and posts on wePowder, my facebook account or follow me as meteo.morris on Instagram.

PowderAlert #2 is in the air. @ #TeamJetstream ... keep on dancing!

Stay stoked, Morris


  • damianlada
    damianlada op 4 December 2018 · 17:06
    Hi Morris, quick question 😃 Do U think on monday/tuesday/wednesday it will be possesible to ride trees in St Anton ? or are they gonna open Rendl 😃? or it's better to attack Engelberg !😃?
  • jamesjung
    jamesjung op 5 December 2018 · 09:01
    Looks like the Arlberg is going to get hammered with snow and then the sun will come out on Wednesday. I'm definitely heading there!

    Thanks, Morris!


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