Transition to less mild weather


By Henri on 24 February 2021 · 0

Sunny, but still a lot of Sahara sand in the air (photo-webcam.eu)
Sunny, but still a lot of Sahara sand in the air (photo-webcam.eu)

The Alps are still under the spell of the mild weather and the Sahara sand. It will be really warm today and tomorrow, but the Alps will end up in significantly cooler air from Friday. The snow for the Northern Alps, which was fairly strong on the weather maps, has become a bit more uncertain, but cooling down is inevitable from the weekend. However, long-term cold winter weather is not yet possible.

Two more days particularly mild

Today and tomorrow little will change compared to the past few days. It will be two sunny days for all parts of the Alps. It also seems that the increased concentration of dust in the air will continue until Friday. The maximum temperatures may be slightly lower than expected due to the dust in the air, but it still remains very mild. Temperatures of up to 20 degrees are possible on the north side of the Alps. Also higher up, the freezing level climbs a little higher to well above 3000 meters.

Wet snow avalanches are possible on a large scale due to rising temperatures (slf.ch)
Wet snow avalanches are possible on a large scale due to rising temperatures (slf.ch)

Avalanche risk

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The high temperatures in combination with the solar radiation ensure that the avalanche risk increases considerably. Good planning is essential for those traveling in the Alps, as lines that are still possible in the early morning can become particularly dangerous in the afternoon. This is also reflected in the avalanche report from the SLF and in Tyrol, where the avalanche risk increases considerably during the day due to this wet snow problem. Especially the steep southern slopes are very sensitive to this.

A cold front is approaching on Friday, but whether it will snow is still uncertain (wetter3.de, DWD)
A cold front is approaching on Friday, but whether it will snow is still uncertain (wetter3.de, DWD)
Our snowfall map
Our snowfall map

Snow on Friday?

With a cold front approaching on Friday, it seemed at first that the Northern Alps could look forward to some fresh snow again, but in the new calculations it also seems possible that, apart from some clouds, it will remain mainly dry. The high-pressure area over the British Isles can spread too far to the east, so that the northerly current is delayed and precipitation cannot reach the Alps.

Both the European and American model anticipated snowfall yesterday, but both models have now moved away from this. ICON and Arpege still see the snowfall, but limit it mainly to the east of Austria with 5 to 15 centimeters of snow and a dropping snow line to about 800 meters. All in all, therefore, even in this short term, still quite uncertain developments. Our snowfall map also goes along with the snowfall, but I don't rule out the possibility that we will eventually come home from a rude awakening.

GFS Ensemble for Geneva (wetterzentrale.de)
GFS Ensemble for Geneva (wetterzentrale.de)

Slight cooling

One thing is certain: the particularly warm phase in the Alps will be over on Friday with the arrival of colder air, but as mentioned earlier, there is absolutely no return to winter conditions. Next week also seems to be dry and fairly mild with temperatures around 5 degrees at 1500 meters and maximum temperatures above 10 degrees in the valleys.

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