After a beautiful Sunday for the Western Alps with sun and up to 50 centimeters of fresh snow, we are now dealing with a warmer phase for the Alps. Tomorrow it may snow temporarily and it will be a bit cooler, but in the course of Wednesday a southwestern current will cause rising temperatures again. Only during the weekend does things seem possible in the field of snowfall, but the models are not completely in agreement. That last weekend was below on the photo of Paul de Groot in Hohsaas. It's such a crazy season. Plenty of snow, but so little possibilities to enjoy it.
As expected, a nice layer of fresh snow fell in the Western Alps last weekend. The French Northern Alps and western Switzerland received 30 to 50 centimeters on a large scale. Further to the south and east it was limited from about 10 to a maximum of 20 centimeters.
Today, clouds started to form from the southwest in the course of the morning. With this southwestern current, a large portion of warm air is supplied, causing the temperatures to rise considerably, especially at altitude. Until tonight, the freezing level is temporarily between 2500 and 3000 meters on the north and west sides of the Alps.
Even before a new cold front approaches the Western Alps, the moist southwest current ensures that it starts to snow lightly in the French Southern Alps around midnight. The fairly high initial snow line of around 2200 meters will drop somewhat during the day. In the morning, some cooler air flows in from the west again, along with some light precipitation, now also for the French Northern Alps and Western Switzerland.
In total I expect about 20 centimeters for the higher parts of the Écrins. At the passage of the front, most of the precipitation will fall just west of the French Northern Alps, so I don't expect much more than 10 to 15 centimeters here. In my opinion, our forecast overestimates the precipitation amounts for this region. Further east, the precipitation intensity decreases even more and everything east of Eastern Switzerland will keep it mostly dry. Only on the south side, especially in Lombardy, it can snow temporarily from tomorrow evening to Wednesday morning. However, it will not yield much more than 10 centimeters above 1500 meters.
The sun will come out again from the west on Wednesday and the temperature will rise particularly on high altitude, just like today, to well above the average December temperature. The first really decent precipitation signals are only before the weekend. In the course of Saturday it seems that both the Northern and Southern Alps can benefit. Since we are still talking about the long term here, the details are still far from certain. If we look at the GFS ensembles, we see that Geneva (Western Alps) will return to a changeable weather type from the weekend, but the uncertainty is still great.
For the Southern Alps in the vicinity of the Dolomites (puncture point Bozen), the new GFS run this morning calculates significantly less precipitation from the 20th compared to the previous runs. It seems that Lombardy and the Julian Alps can benefit from this snowfall, but since there are still considerable differences in the models, I will come back to this in detail on Wednesday.
Winter is here, but it's still not sure what this season will look like. It's always time to start dreaming and preparing. Whatever it will look like, the wePowder Guide is available again. We've extended the pre-order price of € 45.00 (excl. shipping) for a while. This thick book of 400+ pages is in stock and will be delivered to you as soon as possible! Thanks for your support!