While the Alps are experiencing one the driest January months since time, the Pyrenees have to deal with record amounts of snow. The eastern Pyrenees are not really known for their powder snow and excellent snow statistics but this weekend it will be one of the best spots in Europe to ride some powder. Storm Gloria is loosing strength and conditions will be pretty good above the 2000 meters the upcoming days. In the mean time it is dry (again) int the Alps and the outlook is pretty uncertain. In this article:
Storm Gloria is trending on social channels in Spain and Southern France and for a reason. After the coastal areas the weather is now severre in the Mountain ranges. The reporting is somewhat fragmented, but through various channels we can get an idea what is happening there right now.
Ambiance au cœur de l'épisode neigeux exceptionnel avant la tombée de la nuit au centre d'un village de #Cerdagne. 60 cm de #neige mesurés avant le plus gros attendu après 23h.@Meteo_Pyrenees @lindependant #Gloria #vigilanceOrange @severeweatherEU pic.twitter.com/ONRjUmJGY9— Thomas Blanchard (@ThomasBlanchar2) January 21, 2020
Also impressive are the data that the local automatic weather stations provide. How about 120 cm of snow in less than 24 hours? If you want to find out more, explore the rich data sets of Catalunia via this link.
Besides snow the data also shows that the temperature and the snow levels are slowly but surely rising higher. Therefore, keep in mind that melting snow and rain can cause problems down the mountain and may affect roads and routes towards ski resorts.
Storm Gloria will lose her power in the coming hours and at the same time the air that is moving in from the South is warmer. As a result, the orographic cooling decreases and the air temperature goes up. So be aware that snowlevels will go up towards 1800 meter in the coming hours and the zero degree level eventually will touch the 2000 meter mark. With these temperatures you might not expect low density snow. Especially below 2000 meters the snow will become heavy.
For Thursday, the zero-degree level seems to maintain around 1800 meters in the inner alpine valleys. Luckely the clouds will dissapear and with a dry and cold night the snowpack will be able to loose some of the humidity and get drier. With a little bit of luck, the snow deck can radiate so that conditions will get pretty okay/good above 2000 meters on Friday. Lower down on the mountain, the local conditions will determine if you might find some powder. But anyway: Thursday you will be able to ride powder above 2000 meters, although the visibility might be poor for time to time. Friday will be a powder day with sun and fresh snow above 2000 meters in the Eastern Pyrenees.
No tree runs in the Pyrenees, no epic blower pow, but at least plenty of fresh snow and powder over 2000 meters. That's something you won't find in the Alps the upcoming days. After the snow of last weekend it is dry and sunny again. Only in the southernmost Alps can there be some snow falling around Limone and Mondolè ski , but it won't be more than a dusting.
High pressure is and will remain dominant for the coming days. Only just south of the Alps there will be some room for a tine low pressure area during the coming weekend. That will bring some snow in the Southern Piedmont and the French Southern Alps, but according to the current calculations, way too little to make it worth the trip.
We need some help from the jetstream. It is sitting far North and needs to track more south. On the weather charts we see a raher diffuse scenario with some snow around Januart the 29th. But that is still so far away in the future that is has little confidence.
If you want to ride powder in the coming days then you should steer at the eastern Pyrenees. The sun will be back and above 2000 meters you will definitely find some good pow on shady slopes.
But if there is one place in the world where it is now exceptionally good, then it is Canada. In British Columbia, they are experiencing one of the snowiest months of the last 15 years and luckely I have to be there for some snow research. I know, it is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
If you can't take it anymore and your stoke levels are to high then you should drive south for tapas and powder. But if that is too far for you then I would advice keeping your money in your pockets for better times. January will not be a month to remeber but February, March and April still remain. Just sit back, put your money aside and wait for better times.
Do you really want to spend some Euros, Pounds, Dollars etc. on snow? Then help the dream of Erik Bulckens come true. Erik Bulckens is a cinematographer, documentary maker and powder fanatic. Thanks to wePowder, he has been scoring powder for years. His dream is to make a movie documentary about the people behind wePowder. For that, Erik needs your help. You can read all about it here: read here. Do you help Erik make his dream come true? Thank you very much for your help!
Stay stoked Morris