It was very deep this weekend in the Northern Alps. On Saturday in particular, a large part of the Alps experienced a sun-drenched day, which unfortunately also repeatedly made it clear that the avalanche danger turned out to be really critical. Yesterday, between 30 and 50 centimeters of snow fell in the Northern Alps on a large scale. The northernmost areas of the Swiss Alps in particular received this half meter, but also in Austria a number of regions received 30 to locally even 50 centimeters of snow. In the inner alpine regions, the snow quantities remained significantly more limited.
While it has cleared up considerably in the Western Alps after the snowfall, it can still snow for a while in Austria. Especially in the east of Austria it continues to snow into the valleys until the evening. In the stau areas, it can result in 20 to possibly even 30 centimeters of fresh snow. These are the last achievements of the deep winter conditions in the Northern Alps, because from tomorrow things will change.
After an incredibly snowy week in the Northern Alps, it will all change and the Northern Alps have to deal with Föhn for a few days. Tomorrow a warm front will pass north of the Alps and the wind will turn southwest. I do not expect precipitation in the Alps. Only the foothills in the far east of Austria can potentially see some snow above 800 meters. In the Northern Alps the (high) clouds dominate, but in the Western and Southern Alps there is more room for the sun.
The south-westerly current due to a strong low-pressure area above Great Britain provides the supply of significantly higher temperatures. On Wednesday, the pressure gradient between the Northern and Southern Alps is increasing, which is a signal for a strong Föhn. Right now, it looks like the Südföhn will be a bit heavier in Switzerland, as can be seen in the Föhndiagram of Meteocentrale, than in Austria. Higher up, gusts of wind above 120 kilometers per hour must be taken into account, but the Föhn will also be strong in the typical Föhn valleys. With temperatures above 10 degrees, the winter conditions here will quickly disappear.
In the course of Thursday, the chances of snow for the Southern Alps will increase due to a kink in the isobars above the Mediterranean Sea. This small low-pressure area with the corresponding anti-clockwise flow ensures that humid air masses can reach the Southern Alps. In the night from Wednesday to Thursday, the French Southern Alps, Piedmont and Lombardy can already benefit from this current, but in the course of Thursday the precipitation will also spread over the eastern Southern Alps. The exact details are not yet known, especially the precipitation amounts still vary, but on a large scale 20 to 40 centimeters seems possible for the Southern Alps. While the snow line at the beginning of the precipitation phase will still be in most of the valleys (400 to 600 meters), warmer air will flow in during Thursday, and the snow line will rise.
After the föhn phase in the Northern Alps, colder air will follow on Friday with the arrival of a cold front from the west. The Northern Alps can therefore look forward to some fresh snow. In the GFS ensemble you can see that the days after that remain fairly cold and changeable.
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!