It is snowing heavily in the north of Italy and large parts of Switzerland at the moment. More than 1.5 meters of fresh snow is possible locally and there are measuring stations that already report more than 125 cm of fresh snow. Because the snow line has dropped below 1000 meters last night, the fresh snow is already causing problems locally. Today (Thursday) the snowfall will move further to the east and will also affect the Dolomites and large parts of Austria. In this forecast:
Europe is under the spell of storm depression Philipp. With a core above the British Isles, cold air located more to the west is transported to the south of Europe. At the same time, moist air from the Mediterranean Sea is sucked in and is pushed against the southern side of the Alps. That already led to the first snow on Tuesday, but with the incoming cold air in recent hours, a cocktail has been created in which moisture and cold air provide a lot of fresh snow.
Right now the heaviest snowfall is taking place in the north of Italy (northern Piedmont and Lombardia) and central Switzerland. Switzerland in particular is now in the line of fire as previously announced.
Switzerland is still in the line of fire. Cold and warm air come together above Monte Rosa / Haute Valais, the Gotthard / Sustenpass region and the south and center of Graubünden. The snow line is dropping and intense precipitation is coming up.
Some images from that region:
The measuring stations show that a lot of snow has already fallen. More than 130 centimeters of snow came down at an altitude of 2100 meters in the valley of Airolo in the last 48 hours.
The same applies to the Northern Piedmont, where the snow cover has already grown by more than 110 cm. In reality, even more snow came down, because snow will settle (due to its own mass) in the course of time. Be sure to read this article about the centimeter discussion.
Numbers are great, images are even better right now. You can see the images from the wonderful ski resort Alpe Devero in the northern Piedmont of yesterday and today next to each other. The left one is from this morning and the right one is from yesterday. That is no less than 6 or even 7 steps that were snowed in last night!
As reported yesterday in the afternoon and communicated again at the end of the day via Facebook, the avalanche risk has gone up rapidly. The avalanche risk has risen to HIGH (4 on a scale of 5) in central Switzerland, northern Italy and southern Tyrol.
WARNING: Thursday HIGH avalanche danger (4 on a scale of 5) for parts of Switzerland, Italy and Tirol. Huge accumulations of snow are forecasted. Keep in mind that (high mountain) roads might be closed during the day and be aware that ski resorts may close (parts of) their areas. Check your local avalanche bulletin and adapt your plans to it. Please care, share and make aware! Forecast is that the snowpack will settle on Friday and that we may expect more favorable conditions during the weekend.
We now also see that the first roads are closed and that (parts of) ski areas remain closed. If you are on your way to the ski resorts in northern Italy and central Switzerland, first of all check whether the roads are open (for example via this site) and, just as important, whether the lifts are running.
The expectation is that the situation will improve clearly tonight and especially on Friday when it stops snowing and the sun comes out.
I have just added the text from earlier this week on how it will continue in the next 24 hours:
The cold air flows further into the Alps on Thursday. In the French Alps, with a north-westerly current, this still means snow for the French northern Alps, while at the same time a cold northern Föhn is created for the French southern Alps. The clouds go away and the sun comes out.
Switzerland is still in the line of fire. Cold and warm air come together above Monte Rosa / Haute Valais, the Gotthard / Sustenpass region and the south and center of Graubünden. The snow line is dropping and intense precipitation is coming up. It also starts snowing north of the main alpine ridge, but nothing compared to the regions mentioned above. The snow line drops rapidly towards 1000 meters and the sun comes out from the west in the evening.
Italy sees the snow front move very slowly to the east during the day. In the far west it gets better during the morning and in the western and southern Piedmont the sun comes through more and more often. It still snows heavily from the Aosta via the northern Piedmont and Lombardia to beyond the Ortler. The center of gravity shifts from northwestern Italy in the morning to northeastern Italy in the afternoon and evening. The Dolomites and Alpe di Giulia see most snow only towards the end of Thursday. The snow line is around 1400-1600 meters, but drops from the west to 1000 meters during the day.
Up to and including Thursday morning, mainly the southern parts of Austria have seen snow. Especially in Ost-Tirol, the southwestern areas of Carinthia and the southernmost areas of Tyrol, the snow cover has grown considerably above 2000 meters. The cold air and snow from the west slowly arrive very early on Thursday morning. In the far west of Vorarlberg it snows in the early morning and only after lunch does the snow fall into Tyrol and then quickly move towards the more eastern areas such as the Salzburgerland and Styria. It will snow heavily particularly in the main alpine ridge between Austria and Italy at the end of the day.
And that's exactly what it looks like today. The snowfall for the next 36 hours:
The peace returns under (temporary) high pressure on Friday. The sun comes out from the west although the valleys will still be regularly filled with clouds. But certainly in the west of the Alps (up to the west of Tyrol) the sun comes out more and more often.
The sun dominates large parts of the Alps also on Saturday, but from the southwest a new front comes in with snow for the French southern Alps and the western Piedmont. Also some clouds in this corner of the Alps on Sunday.
Thursday: intense snowfall heading east Friday: room for the sun and dry but still snow in the east Saturday: sunny with snow in the southwest later in the day Sunday: mostly sunny but in Po valley and the border area of the French Alps and Switzerland also clouds and some snow
Tips where to go, but keep an eye on the websites of the ski resorts and traffic services for the next 36 hours. Also be sure to check the most recent avalanche forecasts on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
Too much fresh snow
Saturday and Sunday
So far my tips. Questions? Drop them below.
Stay stoked, Morris