What an incredible snowfall that was! The snowfall last weekend was crazy, especially in the Southern Alps. It was ON in a lot of areas where the lifts were running, but on the other hand it also caused a lot of trouble, because in some locations there was just too much snow. In particular, the rising snow line and the subsequent wet snow caused many problems. As if it were not enough, the Southern Alps will again have to deal with heavy snowfall in the coming days. More than half a meter of fresh snow (even up to a meter) can fall again.
Check out the liveblog for a recap of the weekend in which several records were broken. Umhausen in the Ötztal, for example, has a new 24-hour snow record with 80 centimeters (old record 45 cm) and Lienz has received no less than 278 mm of precipitation. Because a large part of this has fallen as rain/wet snow, the snow cover in the valley is no more than half a meter thick. A little further on in the Carinthian town of Kornat had to deal with the highest precipitation in the winter months within 24 hours ever in Austria. Here, no less than 190 mm fell within 24 hours, but here too there was temporary rain, so it did not become a snow record.
The amonts of snow were amazing, but this also caused a lot of trouble. Extremely high avalanche danger posed a serious threat. In South Tyrol, Trentino and East Tyrol they had to deal with avalanche danger 5 on a large scale and people were advised to stay inside as much as possible. Several avalanches came down in East Tyrol, fortunately without injuries or fatalities. Because the higher temperatures came in from the south in the course of Saturday, the snow became wetter and therefore heavier. Trees collapsed under the weight and the avalanche danger became even more acute, with the result that many villages were cut off from the outside world. Even today, despite the decreasing rainfall, the avalanche danger remains considerable. The schools in East Tyrol will remain closed and the roofs will be cleared. Helicopters will be busy today blowing trees free of snow.
In places where the avalanche danger was less critical, such as in Zürs and the Rosshütte ski area near Seefeld, the locals already toured a lot. The powder was also great in Brunni near Engelberg.
You can hardly call it an interlude because it does not remain completely dry, but the hard-hit regions last weekend can temporarily catch their breath today after this bizarre snowfall of the past few days. Today the precipitation intensity is decreasing somewhat, but it can still snow from time to time in the entire Southern Alps. On a large scale between Aosta and the Dolomites, about 10 to 20 centimeters of snow can fall. Today, the center of gravity is around Val d’Ossola, where again about 30 cm, maybe even 40 centimeters are possible. The snow line here is around 600 meters. As mentioned, the intermezzo is short, because another fault will storm will come in on Tuesday and that will bring a lot of snow as well.
The next depression over the Mediterranean will be ready tomorrow. With a low-pressure core above the Gulf of Genoa, a portion of humid air hits the Alps again, which will again provide a good amount of snow. Tomorrow's and Wednesday's precipitation phase is somewhat similar to that of last weekend. The Eastern Dolomites and East Tyrol seem to be in the line of fire, with precipitation amounts up to 100 mm expected. On a large scale, more than half a meter of snow can fall again, possibly even a meter.
The snow line is initially low again because today, during the day, cold air enters from the west. In the course of Tuesday the snow line will rise due to the influx of warmer air at altitude. Contrary to Saturday, the snow line will not be that high tomorrow, with values around 1200 meters in the areas close to the Alpine rim. In the inner alpine valleys all precipitation can still reach the bottom of the valleys in the solid form we all like the most: snow.
The north side of the Alps, especially Austria, is initially sheltered from the snowfall. Only in the evening and the night to Wednesday does colder air from the west reach the north side, so that the moist air masses from the south at the main alpine ridge do not fall, but are transported further north. Switzerland and Vorarlberg in particular seem to benefit somewhat from the calculations on Wednesday, with about 10 to 20 centimeters of snow. Farther east, the quantities remain limited, but it can also start to snow a little bit later in the day.
Thursday seems to be a lot quieter with quite a bit of sun in between the residual clouds, but from Friday a western circulation will provide the next snow phase. This time the Western Alps can expect some snowfall.
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!