PA #13: short but strong storm coming in


By meteomorris on 10 February 2019 · 8

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.

Snowfall until Sunday afternoon
Snowfall until Sunday afternoon

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.

In the night to Monday: snow and low temperatures for the north

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.

From Wednesday: drier and milder from the west

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.

Snowfall until Wednesday
Snowfall until Wednesday

Where to go?

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:

Long-term: high-pressure dominant

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

Comments


  • hanserlingouff
    Tourist
    hanserlingouff op 10 February 2019 · 17:59
    Hi Morris! We are a group of three skiers/snowboarders headed for the alps through Geneva on wedensday evening. Any tips on where to go to posibly find some fresh snow after wedensday would be highly appreciated. Up to 4-5 hours drive is ok if needed. I asume the French resorts are more likely to be tracked out due to holidays in France (?). Should we look for high altitude resorts, or will most north and east faces keep cold enough?

    Thank you for the great service you provide. Had a realy good time at Mondole ski at this time last year, thanks to your forecast and tip. All the best from Hans, Norway
  • meteomorris
    Expert
    meteomorris op 10 February 2019 · 20:42
    @hanserlingouff Just to be sure: a max of 4 to 5 hours drive from Geneva? How long are you going? Tourski and/or split board with you?
    May the powder be with you.
  • hanserlingouff
    Tourist
    hanserlingouff op 10 February 2019 · 21:13
    @meteomorris Yes, 4-5 hours drive from Geneva. But if even more hours on the road is what it will take I guess it can be done. We fly home from Geneva on sunday evening. No touring on this trip.
  • hanserlingouff
    Tourist
    hanserlingouff op 10 February 2019 · 21:13
    @meteomorris Yes, 4-5 hours drive from Geneva. But if even more hours on the road is what it will take I guess it can be done. We fly home from Geneva on sunday evening. No touring on this trip.
  • elecas
    Advanced
    elecas op 11 February 2019 · 09:49
    @meteomorris what about the wind? After checking your map and some other models it seems that in the whole Alps is going to be extremely windy... Do you think that wind plus de 30-40cm will produce a huge avalanche problem?
    Considering that, where would you suggest in Tirol? Go to the high alpine (Sölden, Kappl, Gerlos) where the snowfall is bigger but the winds also or to go lower areas (skiwelt, Kitzbuhel) where the snowfall is smaller but the winds also lower?
    Thanks for your advice!
    www.elecas.es
  • meteomorris
    Expert
    meteomorris op 11 February 2019 · 13:01
    @hanserlingouff peak season has started. See also: https://wepowder.com/en/forum/topic/262722 Especially in France it is busy at the moment.
    In Austria and Switzerland it is less busy. Best (untracked) snow is to be found in the non usual suspects. Engelberg, Andermatt, St. Anton etc.. will be completely tracked out on Thursday. So go for the less know smaller family resorts. There will be powder left. Inneralpine the snow will remain better, although north faces in the pre alpes will stay cool as well.

    Last week I went on a trip and even during the milder days we did found more than enough cold untracked powder in those smaller resorts.
    You can try Davos - Klosters (Rinerhorn, Jakobshorn and Pischa will definitely have some untracked powder left), also the smaller resorts in Haut Valais and western Wallis will have powder left.

    @elecas forget the high alpine. Go for the smaller resorts in the pre alpes.


    May the powder be with you.
  • elecas
    Advanced
    elecas op 12 February 2019 · 21:19
    @morris thank you. I follow your suggestion and the day was awesome:

    www.elecas.es
  • meteomorris
    Expert
    meteomorris op 13 February 2019 · 10:58
    @elecas nice! Thanks for sharing.
    May the powder be with you.

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