Today is the last day of föhn in the Northern Alps with temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius. Especially during night the föhn storm was quite intense, with wind gusts above 120 kilometers per hour on a large scale and even over 140 kilometers per hour at the Patscherkofel. But meanwhile in the southernwestern Alps it started dumping again! The Southern Alps already got up to 30 centimeters last 24 hours, but there is more to come!
Once again, the Northern Alps will be under the influence of föhn today. Temperatures can reach well above 10 degrees during the day on a large scale and even up to 15 degrees in the typical föhn valleys like the Rhine Valley. On the webcam at the Nordkette in Innsbruck, the föhneffect is nicely visible. You can see the Südstau in the Southern Alps, with thick clouds reaching up to the main alpine ridge, but since the air masses are able to descend on the leeward side of the Alpine main ridge, it is clearing up on the Northern side of the Alps.
After a relative quiet morning in the Southern Alps with less snowfall the intensity will increase during this afternoon. The low pressure core will move from Central-France towards the Mediterranean Sea during the day. With this Genoa Low setting lots and lots of snow will fall in the Southern Alps during the evening and night. The Southern Dolomites, the Carnic Alps and the Julian Alps will be hammered with up to 1 meters of snow. Further to the west, Lombardy and the Southern French Alps can receive between 30 to locally 50 centimeters of snow. Only the Piedmont will receive way less because it is a bit on the leeside of the flow. The snowline will increase due to the warm air advection during this precipitation event. Locally it can rain up to 1500 meters, but during heavy snowfall events and weak winds it can continue to snow even below 1000 meters.
Also in the Western and Northern Alps we can expect snow from this afternoon on. From the west, the föhn will be broken down by a front with cooler air and precipitation. Snow levels will drop rapidly from 1500 meters to around 800 meters. In total I expect around 10 to locally even 30 centimeters for the northwestern Alps (so Northern French Alps, Switzerland and Vorarlberg). Further to the east, I won’t expect more than 10 centimeters above 800 to 1000 meters.
After a short dry period with some sunshine during the day a second front is approaching tomorrow. The northern Alps will again receive some more snow. Even colder air arrives behind this front, causing the snow line to drop into the lowest valleys. I don’t expect lots of precipitation with this front. Approximately 5 to 10 centimeters for the western Alps and more of a snow dusting in Austria.
After some leftover snow showers from the front it will clear up during the course of Sunday. Especially the Northwestern and the Southern Alps will get a beautiful sunny day after the snowfall, further to the east it will take some time for the front to pass. During the afternoon the Western Alps will see incoming clouds from the west, because a third front with snow is approaching. I expect the most snowfall to fall in the Northwestern Alps, with up to 20 or 30 centimeters with a snow into the lowest valleys. It will be winterwonderland again, but probably not for a long time…
As you can see in the ensemble of the GFS Model, the 3 precipitation peaks for the next few days are visible for the Western Alps, but what stands even more out is the rapid warming during next week, with temperatures up to 10 degrees on 1500 meters altitude possible for the western Alps. These high temperatures come together with a warm front that can bring quite some precipitation. Also the European Model shows this situation, with the low pressure system a bit further to the south. It is therefore likely that we’re gonna deal with rain up to high altitudes, but for the exact details like the snow line it is too far away.
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