Storm Uwe moves into the Alps on Sunday. It snows from the southwest and the Föhn still is present in the north at first, but there is snow from the northwest coming in later this Sunday. It snows in the northwest and north of the Alps until Tuesday. High pressure will return from Wednesday and it will become considerably milder in the west of the Alps.
You can see storm Uwe is in the picture above. The blue line is the cold front that is expected to reach the extreme northwest of the Alps towards the end of Sunday afternoon. Until then, the Alps are in relatively mild air with a southwestern current.
Due to orographic cooling it is colder on the south side of the Alps. The clouds that push against the south side of the Alps provide some snow in the south with a snow line that fluctuates between 700 and 1100 meters. Some snow can come down in the western Alps, but the snow line is initially much higher here. At the same time there may be some room for bright spells on the north side of the Alps this afternoon. It is mild and the snow below 2000 meters is very mild in character due to the relatively humid air.
Who wants to ride cold powder today (Sunday) is best off in the cold inner alpine valleys on the south side of the Alps. It has been cold here for days and the snow is fluffy. A lot of surface hoar has developed on the current snow cover and those who dig deeper into the snow cover on the south side of the Alps will encounter a huge layer of cohesion-free old snow, A typical weak persistant layer as they say in North America.
Cold air reaches the northwest towards the end of Sunday afternoon. The front allows the wind to turn quickly to the northwest and the snow line that is still around 1300-1800 meters at the very first flakes drops rapidly to the 500-800 meters in the night to Monday. The first snowfall brings 10-40 cm of fresh snow to the northwest until Monday afternoon. Hotspots are the Mont Blanc region, the west of Switzerland and the Austrian Vorarlberg.
The second snow pulse follows in the course of Monday. This has a more northerly component and it snows heavily in the north of the Alps with another 10-40 cm of fresh snow until Tuesday night.
There will be high pressure coming in from the west from Tuesday. The supply of cold air and snow towards the Alps is being cut off. It becomes dry and especially milder in the Alps. The first mild air flows into the western Alps on Wednesday. It is still fresh in the eastern Alps thanks to a northern current. Fortunately, the supplied air is dry. It is in the beginning of February and on the north slopes and in the cold inner alpine valleys the snow will stay fresh for a long time and winter is still around.
You will find the best snow on the north faces and inneralpine valleys on the south side of the Alps today (Sunday), but the visibility is moderate with even fresh snow during the day. PA #13 is on from Monday. The expected snow quantities are generally sufficient for a PowderAlert. But it was mild in the Alps and especially on sunny slopes and the flatter parts of the mountain the fresh snow falls on an old layer of snow that has had a lot of sun during the last days. You can expect this to freeze, so that the new colder snow falls on a harder layer. This problem is less an issue on shady slopes. But preferably you go to the areas with the most snowfall.
The regions for Monday and certainly Tuesday are:
The western Alps are under the influence of the high pressure area until the end of this week. It stays colder and there may still be some snow, but only in the eastern Alps. But this is not yet certain.
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Stay stoked, Morris