We are dealing with an unprecedented SNOWvember. One storm has not left yet or the other is coming in. We had to deal with a huge Adria-low on Tuesday and Wednesday. And it's followed by a Genoa-low that moves into the southern Alps today (Thursday. It provides a lot of snow up to and including Friday and immediately after that another storm follows on the southern side of the Alps. That means three storms in a row in week two of SNOWvember. If we look even further into the future, we will see the temperature rise sharply with rain in the valleys. In this forecast:
The southern side of the Alps was confronted with a huge Adria-low on Tuesday and Wednesday. That's a low pressure area that nestles in the Adriatic Sea and always provides a lot of snow. Although an Adria-low is a lot rarer than a storm north of the Alps, it immediately brings a quantity of snow equivalent to 2 to 5 storms on the north side of the Alps. There is usually a strong southern current east of the core and that pushes a lot of moisture against the southern side of the Alps. At the same time, cold air is drawn in on the western side of the core. Due to orographic cooling, it snows heavily on the southern side of the Alps, with the snow regularly being heavy and wet on the lower parts of the mountain. At the same time, due to the large amount of moisture, the clouds reach over the main alpine ridge where moisture and cold mix and there is precipitation as a result. Looking at the webcams below it was crazy:
The webcam images may be impressive, the current snow cover maps are even more so. We are really only in the second week of November and in many places in and south of the Austrian main alpine ridge there is a snow cover of 1+ and even 2+ meters above 2200 meters. That is huge for the time of the year.
2500 households were without electricity in Osttirol on Wednesday, but there is not much time to catch their breath. A new storm enters the Alps. They'll notice this primarily in the French Southern Alps today and not much later in the Italian Piedmont. The snowfall spreads to the east in the night to Friday and it starts snowing very heavily between the Monte Rosa - Simplon - Gotthard with record quantities. A bizarre amount of snow will fall between Thursday evening and Saturday morning.
The snowfall expands further to the east in the course of Friday, with again a lot of snow for the Dolomites, Eastern Tirol, Carinthia and the main alpine ridge in Austria. That looks something like this:
There will be another storm south of the Alps with again a lot of snow on Saturday and Sunday. It is almost unbelievable, because two weeks with up to four Adria and Genoa pressure areas is highly exceptional. The base for the rest of the winter is thus laid for the high alpine.
First of all snow again this weekend for the south, but when it moves away to the east, the snowfall will cover the main alpine ridge during the course of Saturday but especially Sunday.
It is also a good thing that the base has been laid because the jet stream will be located further north next week, which will put the Alps in milder air. The current is still southwest but the cold air is a lot higher. As a result, milder air flows into the Alps. From SNOWvember the lower parts of the mountain then merge seamlessly with November Rain. The north side of the Alps has to deal with a solid Föhn, while it stays wet in the French Southern Alps and on the south side of the Alps due to the push from the southwest. Fortunately, the snow cover on the south side of the Alps above 1600 - 2200 meters will still grow because (wet) snow will fall there.
It is as if King Winter has been waiting for us. For the last two years, Arjen and I, along with a team of designers, editors and not to mention all our friends in the Alps, have worked endlessly on the ultimate freeride guide book: wePowder Guide the Alps. The last two months in particular were intense, working on that last bits. The presses will be running soon and the aim is to ensure that if you order now you'll receive your guide before Christmas. You can read all about our new book here. The guide is available in a limited edition and only the guides from the pre-order (€ 40,00 instead of € 45,00) are exclusively numbered. Order it now and make sure that you don't miss out!
Stay stoked, Morris