The weather in the past week caused an extremely critical avalanche situation last weekend. The heavy snowfall in combination with wind in the high alpine and a saturated snow cover from the rain in the lower parts caused a high avalanche danger on a large scale. Unfortunately, there were several avalanche deaths in the Alps last weekend. Today, large parts of the French Northern Alps continue to experience avalanche danger 4. Also in a large parts of Graubünden in Switzerland we still retain avalanche danger 4. With more precipitation and high temperatures on the horizon, it will remain a danger that should not be underestimated in the coming days.
Last night it started to snow again from the west. Due to the fairly mild westerly current, the snow line is still between 1200 and 1400 meters. While the morning is still quite sunny in large parts of Austria, thick clouds soon follow from the west. Here too it can snow in the areas on the north side during the day with a snow line between 1200 and 1400 meters. Only tonight can it be cold enough to the east of Salzburg for some light snowfall above 800 to 1000 meters.
All in all, a fair amount can fall in 24 hours in the Western Alps. On a large scale, 20 to 30 centimeters of snow can fall, with possible local peaks of up to half a meter. In large parts of Switzerland and Vorarlberg it can also snow about 20 to 30 centimeters, but further east the quantities are decreasing rapidly. In the northern areas I do not expect more than a cosmetic layer of no more than 5 centimeters. Austria's inner alpine regions may even keep it dry.
Tomorrow, under the influence of a low-pressure area west of Ireland, a warm front will follow during the day. The most active part with quite a bit of precipitation does not hit the Alps and will pass just north. Only in the afternoon does the precipitation for the northwestern Alps seem to intensify. Behind the warm front, a large portion of warm air is sucked in, causing the snow line to rise well above 2000 meters. In the French Northern Alps, the snow line will temporarily be around 2300 meters tomorrow evening. Particularly high values for the beginning of February… With about 10 to 20 centimeters of snow in the high alpine, the quantities remain limited. Again I expect a lot less in Austria.
It can still snow in the morning on the north side of the Northern Alps above 2000 to 2200 meters on Wednesday. Before it starts to snow again slightly from the northwest in the afternoon, it can clear up temporarily in most places. When the sun comes out, it will be spring-like with temperatures of up to 15 degrees.
The prolonged precipitation phase in the northwestern Alps will be over for a few days from Thursday, but the Alps will continue to have to deal with mild weather. Under the influence of light high pressure, warm air is supplied from the south, so that temperatures of 15 degrees can also be measured on Thursdays and Fridays. Due to the high clouds, we will not really have to deal with sunny high pressure weather. This mild period will in all likelihood end from Saturday evening and a switch to colder winter weather seems inevitable. First of all, the French Southern Alps and Piemonte can look forward to snow, but then the rest of the Southern Alps and the Northern Alps also seem to get their share.
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!