The Northwestern Alps have already gotten a considerable amount of snow, but the will get hammered again by a northern Stay in the coming days. Until Wednesday it will snow continuously in many places, resulting in up to a meter of snow to fall in Switzerland and the Arlberg on top of the snow that has already fallen the last couple of days. On Friday, the western Southern Alps will temporarily get a lot of snow.
The Northwestern Alps have already received a lot of snow in the past 24 hours. In one day, 20 to 30 centimeters of snow came down in large parts of Switzerland. No less than half a meter of fresh snow has been measured in the Stau areas. There was also a lot of snow in the west of Austria, with the Arlberg of course as the winner, but other regions in Vorarlberg and Tyrol have also received up to 30 centimeters of snow. It has even turned white up to Innsbruck at an elevation of 575 meters. As I said on Friday, this is just the beginning, because there will still be a lot of snow coming down in the coming days.
The ideal air pressure distribution above Europe ensures that a northern current above the North Sea picks up a lot of moisture and then hits the Alps. This Nordstau setting will provide more than half a meter of snow higher up on a large scale in the coming days. In the Arlberg and eastern Switzerland (eg Engelberg) up to 100 centimeters of snow can come down. The air of arctic origin also ensures that it can snow into the valleys, just like last night. In the Stau regions precipitation can last until Wednesday afternoon, but in wider valleys and the inner alpine regions the sun can temporarily appear between the showers.
With the northern Stau the wind is also picking up again. On the entire north side of the Alps we have to deal with avalanche risk 3 above the tree line due to the danger of wind drifted snow. In large parts of Valais and the north side of the Swiss Alps, it is currently even avalanche risk 4 due to the large amounts of snow that have fallen and will fall.
It can also snow again on Thursday, especially in the afternoon on the north side of the Alps. A small low-pressure core approaches the Alps from the north, sending some snow showers to the north. After a snowy week for the Northern Alps and hardly any precipitation for the Southern Alps, it seems that the Piedmont will also receive fresh snow from Thursday evening through the descending low-pressure area. As the core of this low-pressure area to the west of the Alps is moving more and more south, the wind will temporarily come from the east, causing a short retour d’est for less than 24 hours. Despite the short duration, a lot of snow can fall. On a large scale, up to and including Friday evening, 30 to 50 centimeters could fall within a day with a snow line of around 500 meters.
A number of weather models also showed snow for the rest of the Southern Alps for a couple of days, but these developments are still uncertain. While our weather model likes it and expects a real dump for the Dolomites, the European model is even more reserved. So wait and see! Hopefully more clarity about this on Wednesday.
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