On the day that we will most likely be told that Austria does not want to receive any tourists until mid-January, I would actually like to issue the first PowderAlert. The timing is annoying, but the snow map in our forecast turns red. The Southern Alps will have to deal with more than 1 meter of fresh snow in the coming days. Let's just enjoy the beautiful images that we will see the next couple of days and consider ourselves lucky that there is at least a great base for the rest of the season. The day before yesterday I didn't really talk about the details of this snowfall, but now we are going to see if there is already more agreement in the models. Oh, and did you already order the wePowder Guide - The Alps? Last week before we start shipping!
In this forecast:
The first snowfall of yesterday has passed and so it's time to check what the situation is right now. The occlusion front has left a fresh layer of snow down to the valleys on the north side of the Alps west of Innsbruck. Especially in the northern stau areas and Valais, on average about 10 to 20 centimeters of snow has fallen, on the Titlisboden (2150m) in Engelberg even a quarter of a meter. However, these amounts are marginal if you look at the precipitation maps for the Southern Alps for the coming days. A huge snow bomb can possibly leave up to 2 meters of snow until Sunday.
The Northern and Western Alps are now temporarily entering calmer waters. Up to and including tomorrow, the sun may come out from time to time, particularly in Wallis and France. Further east, the Hochnebel and residual clouds remain dominant and it may snow temporarily tomorrow.
At the time of writing, it is snowing heavily in the south of the Piedmont. The center of gravity of the snowfall is in the Limone Piemonte area. Here today, due to local heavy thrust, 30 to 40 centimeters of snow can fall. Farther north, the quantities will decrease rapidly. Areas such as Sestrière and Prali still get about 10 to 15 centimeters, but everything further north will be more classified as 'cosmetic layer of the magical white stuff'.
Today we also have to deal with the first snowfall for the eastern part of the southern Alps due to the 'Cut-Off Low' above the Gulf of Genoa. There can be some flurries in the entire southern Alps, but during the day the center of gravity is mainly around Trento. During the day, areas such as Passo Tonale and San Martino di Castrozza can expect around 10 to 15 centimeters of snow with a snowline around 500 meters. Further north towards the main alpine ridge (in Südtirol and Osttirol, for example) the snowfall remains limited. It's a prelude of what's about to come.
In the course of the evening (it's still Wednesday), a large portion of humid air hits the southeastern Alps with a wide arc, resulting in snowfall in all areas east of the Dolomites. Until tomorrow evening, 10 to 20 (and possibly even 30) centimeters of snow can fall into the valleys in this region, but also further towards the main alpine ridge (Osttirol, Hohe Tauern). The Austrian Northern Alps also benefit a bit, although it will not be much more than a few centimeters. It goes without saying that the largest quantities here fall in the areas close to the main alpine ridge. But again, it's a just a prelude.
While the snowfall in the east decreases during the day tomorrow, from the west the precipitation is approaching, which will cause the first major dump of the season. The ECWMF is very enthousiastic with more than 250mm of precipitation for the Dolomites and East Tyrol. The model now calculates heavy snowfall also a bit further to the west, so that the Swiss kanton of Ticino can also expect up to 200 mm of precipitation. The American model pretty much confirms all of this.
We also see that France can pick up quite a bit of snow the day after tomorrow. The front hits the Jura and the French Alps first. The Écrins massif in particular seems to be fully in the line of fire and can prepare itself for half a meter of fresh snow. The Southern Alps will have to deal with a strong southerly current that again causes humid air masses to hit the Alps. However, the snow line can become an issue, as the southern current also brings a bubble of warm air towards the Alps.
While the snow line in the Southern Alps is initially between 500 and 1000 meters on Friday, it can rise to over 1500 meters in the night to Saturday due to the advection of warm air. Fortunately, many areas, especially those close to the main alpine ridge, will benefit from a low snowline for a long time due to 'precipitation cooling'. The intensity of the precipitation is so high that almost everything will fall in the form of snow, which means that we can expect 1 meter of snow from Ticino to the Julian Alps and Carinthia. Areas such as Obertilliach (Osttirol) and Passo Tonale (Adamello) may even get towards the 2 meters of snow. Bizarre quantities! Please note: the snowfall, especially on Saturday, is accompanied by a lot of wind in the high alpine.
At the same time, a strong Südföhn situation is developing on Friday in the Northern Alps. This Südföhn can last until Saturday, especially in the east of Austria. In Switzerland, Vorarlberg and Tyrol, the impact of the Föhn remains somewhat more limited, so that it can start snowing here in the course of Friday due to the supply of colder air. The southern current with snowfall can pass over the main alpine ridge and then also brings snow snow on the north side with a snow line around 1000 meters. It is still difficult to say exactly how much will fall here.
We can't travel to the Alps, winter is still coming, but the preparation can already start! Whatever it will look like, the wePowder Guide is available again in the pre-order. For € 45.00 (excl. shipping) this thick book of 400+ pages will be delivered to you mid-December! Thanks for your support!