The last few days were rather warm for the Alps. A southwesterly flow transported mild air towards the Alps and caused especially higher up in the mountains temperatures well above normal for December. Also today and tomorrow will be dominated by this warm flow. In the next days we will get two short precipitation events on Sunday and in the night from Monday to Tuesday for the Western and Northern Alps, but strong snowfall is not expected.
Today and tomorrow we follow the same procedure as last days: most parts of the Alps will see lots of sunshine, like this morning here on the Mont Fort in the Swiss ski area of Les 4 Vallées.
Only the southern French Alps will receive some incoming clouds from the south during the day, but there is no snow expected. With a freezing level above 2000 meters the temperatures higher up in the mountains are well above average for the time of the year, especially on the northern side of the Alps as you can see.
Also tomorrow will be dominated by the sun on a large scale. The lowest valleys and the alpine foreland can experience a persistent low stratus deck throughout the day, but higher up the sun will shine the whole day for most parts of the Alps. Throughout the day some snow flurry is expected around the Swiss canton Ticino and also the Alpes Maritimes can receive some light snowfall from noon onwards.
During the night from Saturday to Sunday a front approaches the western part of the Alps. The most precipitation will fall directly to the west of the French Alps, so I don’t expect large amounts of fresh snow. Up to 10 or maybe 15 centimeters could be possible for the French Alps above 1300 meters. The inner alpine regions will probably get even less. As the front moves to the east during the day and evening the intensity of the precipitation will decrease. In Wallis and regions further to the east I won’t expect more than 1 to 5 centimeters. Also on the southern side of the Alps the amount will be negligible. Only Ticino and the southern part of Piemonte can receive some centimeters of snow, but it will be less than shown here in the forecast map.
Right after the snowfall in the weekend we have to deal with increasing temperatures again. A warm front from the west will bring in the course of Monday and the night to Tuesday some precipitation for the northwestern part of the Alps. Around 10 centimeters of snow is expected, but with the warmer air that is advected towards the Alps the snow line will gradually rise. First, the snow line lies around 1500 meters, but it can eventually reach up to 2300 meters. Further east in the Northern Alps the snow line will be around 2000 meters.
After the warm front on Tuesday it’s still open what will happen. The American forecast model predicts some light snow and rain during the course of the day, but the European model keeps that precipitation to the north of the Alps. With temperatures above 5 degrees on 1500 meters it would be good to avoid that rainfall, because it’s just way too warm.
In the long term from Wednesday on there are some interesting developments visible on the weather charts. It is quite likely that some nice surprises are coming up right in time for Christmas! A northwesterly flow can give lots of snow and arctic conditions for the northern Alps. But because it’s almost a week ahead and the weather models still show different results, it’s too early to talk about the details.
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