We are approaching the end of the long warm and dry phase for the Alps. Today and tomorrow morning it will remain mild and dry, but in the course of tomorrow afternoon precipitation is approaching for the Northern Alps and it cools down sharply. The much-needed snowfall will result in about 10 to 20 centimeters on the north side.
Contrary to expectations, the Western Alps in particular have to deal with somewhat denser clouds today. The culprit is again the increased concentration of Sahara sand in the air, which makes it much easier for the cloud cover to develop. The dense cloud cover can be seen in the satellite image above from this morning. For the weather models, this process remains extremely difficult to calculate in advance, which can lead to large differences between the observations and the output of the models.
Only the areas east of Tyrol can expect more hours of sunshine today. Here, too, high clouds come in during the day, but it again becomes very mild with maximum temperatures of about 15 degrees. Further west, where the clouds and the Sahara sand dominate, the missing solar radiation can make it a lot less mild than in recent days. Here the temperatures are more likely to stick around 10 degrees.
Tomorrow we have to take the Sahara sand in the air into account as well. I expect that it will again remain cloudy in large parts of the Alps and it will not be as warm as expected, but still mild. In the course of tomorrow afternoon the wind turns to the northwest and a cold front approaches the Northern Alps. Some of the Sahara sand in the sky can reach the ground with this snowfall (wet deposition), but this time it is unlikely to produce spectacular images like we saw a few weeks ago.
The cold front will provide a nice refreshment, especially in the Northern Alps. Significantly cooler air (-5 to -10 degrees at 1500 meters in the North East Alps) and a strong wind ensure a return of winter. About 10 to 20 centimeters of fresh snow can fall on the north side. Our weather model even hints at amounts of 40 centimeters for the Dachstein massif, which may be on the high side, but not unrealistic. Initially, the snow line is between 1200 and 1500 meters, but with the arrival of colder air, snow can fall well below 1000 meters on Friday. During the last convulsions of the front it can snow into most valleys, but you don't have to expect much. The inner-alpine regions on the north side should expect smaller amounts of snow. It is the Nordstau regions in particular that will catch the most.
A slightly increasing pressure gradient and an accompanying Nordföhn ensures that the Southern Alps remain almost completely dry until Friday afternoon. It is not until the evening that the precipitation reaches Slovenia from the north-east. This current curls around the Alps and can eventually result in snowfall for the western Southern Alps in the night from Friday to Saturday. Especially the southern areas can expect some snow there. Inner alpine regions such as South Tyrol may not get any snow at all.
At the weekend the air pressure rises again and the sun comes out again in large parts of the Alps. The Western Alps may still experience clouds and snowfall, but the timing and amount are still uncertain. With temperatures of up to 10 degrees in the lowest valleys, it is a lot colder than last week, but certainly not deep winter. The temperatures follow the long-term average for a few days. From next week it looks like the Alps will enter a changeable phase with multiple snow moments.
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