Back to changeable and cool weather

By Henri on 8 February 2021 · 0

The warm phase in the Alps is over. Temperatures above 18 degrees Celsius were possible thanks to the Südföhn. With the strong southerly current, not only warm air was supplied to the Alps, but also extremely high concentrations of Sahara sand. Especially in the French and Western Swiss Alps, the snow cover was covered with a layer of sand and the sky looked remarkably orange for hours. In addition to the extensive old snow problem, the Western Alps in particular are now faced with an extra weak layer, which requires caution. As can be seen on the webcam image of Vars, the sky is now crystal clear again and a fresh layer of snow has covered the layer with Sahara sand.

Corvatsch, Engadin (
Corvatsch, Engadin (

Sun coming out

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The brief Südstau situation is over again. On a large scale it has produced about 30 centimeters of snow. The most snow came down in the Engadin, with up to 70 centimeters of fresh snow. Deep winter conditions can now be found there. In a large part of the Alps it has already cleared up widely. Only in the Eastern Alps the residual clouds are a bit more persistent, but in most places the sun comes out in the afternoon. The precipitation in the southeastern Alps decreases in the course of the morning, but due to the residual clouds it can remain cloudy here even in the afternoon.

From the west, a small low-pressure core will follow in the course of the evening, with a front that will first cause precipitation in the Western Alps. Until tomorrow morning I expect a maximum of 5 to 10 centimeters of fresh snow with a snow line around 1200 meters. This 10 centimeter is expected to fall only in the French Northern Alps and the west of Valais. Further south and east you can expect a few centimeters and the inner alpine areas in particular are likely to keep it dry. During the night, precipitation also reaches the extreme southeastern Alps. Here, too, about 10 centimeters of snow can fall and it will remain cloudy all day tomorrow.

Snow again from the west (, DWD)
Snow again from the west (, DWD)

More snow on its way

It will also remain mostly cloudy in the northwestern Alps tomorrow. In the Southern Alps (with the exception of the Julian Alps) and the inner alpine areas on the north side, the day will be more friendly. In the course of the afternoon a new low-pressure area is approaching from the west, which this time will cause a lot of precipitation. In the evening, the snowfall reaches the French Alps and soon spreads across the entire northwest and south sides of the Alps. The regions east of Arlberg will initially have to deal with a weak föhn current temporarily, but will also pick up some snow in the course of the afternoon.

In the Western Alps, I expect about 20 to 30 centimeters of fresh snow until Wednesday evening, locally possibly even more. Also in the Southern Alps (with the exception of the Piedmont) 20 to 30 centimeters of snow is possible on a large scale. As is so often the case, the Julian Alps will get just that little bit extra. Here, more than half a meter of snow can easily fall on Wednesday. Because the snowfall will only reach the regions east of Arlberg later, the quantities here are limited to about 10 centimeters.

Expected snowfall on Wednesday
Expected snowfall on Wednesday

In the Northern and Western Alps, the snow line during snowfall is significantly lower than in the Southern Alps. Initially the snow line in most regions is between 1200 and 1600 meters, but while on the north and west sides it can quickly snow at about 800 meters due to the colder air entering, the snow line on the south side remains around 1200 to 1400 meter.

Powerful northern föhn and low temperatures

While it will continue to snow lightly on the north side in the night to Thursday, a strong northern föhn situation is developing in the Southern Alps. The wind is temporarily picking up considerably. From the north, a large portion of cold air is transported to the Alps, so that the Eastern Alps in particular go into the freezer for a number of days. More details about the expected Föhn and the freezing cold in Wednesday's weather report!

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