Northern Stau on its way?

By Henri on 8 January 2021 · 0

Under the influence of high pressure we have some sunny days ahead of us for the Alps. No significant amount of fresh snow are expected in the next few days, but the weather models are showing some interesting developments from mid next week! The Northern Alps may finally get a proper Northstau after a long relatively dry period.

When we have a look at our snow forecast map for the next 4 days it becomes clear that most parts of the Alps will remain dry due to the high pressure situation.

Precipitation will be near, but won’t be able to reach the Alps completely. During the weekend this can cause some cloudy conditions in some part of the Alps, but especially the northern Alps will remain very sunny. These clear skies during in combination with low wind speeds and cold upper air are a perfect combination for extremely cold minimum temperatures during the nights. On a large scale, temperatures below -20 degrees are recorded in the higher regions. Also the lowest valleys can expect temperatures well below -10 degrees Celsius. Typical high located cold pools like the Glattalp can even experience arctic temperatures around -30 degrees.

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The high pressure above the European continent will cause the Mediterranean low pressure to move towards the east. Almost all the precipitation will fall in the Appenines and the Balkan, but the southern French alps and South-Piedmont are likely to get some light snowfall because of this eastward track of the low pressure system. It’s still not really sure how far north the snowfall will reach, but it is likely that it will stay restricted to the southern French Alps, Piedmont and later on Sunday and Monday the south-eastern Alps. I don’t expect much more than 5 centimeters of snow in these regions.

The northern Alps won’t get anything of this precipitation. They might get some more clouds from the south on Saturday, but from Sunday on sunshine will dominate again.

A couple days ago, some first signs of snowfall for the Northern Alps popped up in the output of the weather models. Especially the European model believed some consecutive runs in a situation where a low pressure system above the Baltic Sea causes a moist northwesterly flow towards the Alps. The high pressure system above the Iberian Peninsula will transport warm and moist air from the west towards the Alps. On this border of these two warm and cold air masses lots of precipitation is possible.

It’s still too early for the details, since not every model agrees with this snowfall event yet, but it looks very promising! France might get less due to high pressure influence from the west. It also might be possible that the western Alps will experience a rising snow level during the snowfall because of this warmer air, but further west in Switzerland and Austria, it will stay colder with much lower snow levels. We just have to wait some more days to be sure what is gonna happen!

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