Persistently dry in the Alps


By Henri on 15 December 2021 · 0

Inversion weather in the Rhine Valley (foto-webcam.eu)
Inversion weather in the Rhine Valley (foto-webcam.eu)

The Alps are now in a persistently dry phase in which a strong high-pressure area dominates the weather. Higher up, it is sunny and quite warm almost everywhere, only in the Eastern Alps some clouds are passing over. The valleys on the northern side have to deal with low hanging clouds as a result of this high-pressure setting.

Satellite image of today (sat24.com)
Satellite image of today (sat24.com)
Sunlit day in Crans-Montana (roundshot.com)
Sunlit day in Crans-Montana (roundshot.com)

The inversion weather due to the strong high-pressure area is clearly visible in today's satellite image above. Especially in the northern side there is a lot of cloud in the alpine foreland and in some valleys. In the coming days we will stay in this calm high-pressure situation.

High pressure persists, but a cold front touches the east of Austria (wetter3.de, DWD)
High pressure persists, but a cold front touches the east of Austria (wetter3.de, DWD)

Mostly sunny, only the Eastern Alps some snow

The forecasts on wePowder are powdered by our friends at Ortovox

The tail of a cold front may again bring some more cloudiness to the Eastern Alps tomorrow. Tomorrow night it might temporarily snow a bit, but as you can see on our snow forecast map it won't bring more than 5 centimetres for the eastern areas like Hochkar. Austria will stay on the edge of this high pressure area for the next few days, which means that especially the eastern areas might have to deal with clouds for a longer time.

Several centimeters of snow for the eastern part of Austria
Several centimeters of snow for the eastern part of Austria
Nordföhn (meteocentrale.ch)
Nordföhn (meteocentrale.ch)

Northföhn

For the time being, little will change in this weather pattern in the coming days. At least until the beginning of next week, the sun will be shining brightly. The core of high pressure will slowly but surely move towards the British Isles during the next few days. The pressure difference over the Alps will increase because of this, so we will have to deal with Nordföhn in the Southern Alps in the coming days.

GFS total accumulation of precipitation until next Thursday (wxcharts.com)
GFS total accumulation of precipitation until next Thursday (wxcharts.com)
ECMWF total accumulation of precipitation until next Thursday (wxcharts.com)
ECMWF total accumulation of precipitation until next Thursday (wxcharts.com)

Hardly any precipitation

Both the ECMWF and GFS show a fairly unambiguous picture with no precipitation for the Alps until the medium range (the next 9 days). The north-east oriented jet stream I mentioned on Monday has shifted a bit more to the east in recent model runs, which means we shouldn't expect any exciting developments for Austria either. However, the maps immediately show us where it will hit, and that is in Norway (with the jet stream aimed directly at Scandinavia) and the Caucasus and Turkey. For instance, a metre of snow could fall in Georgian Svaneti (Tetnuldi Ski Resort) by the middle of next week.

Massive cold pool?

Early next week the high pressure area seems to connect with the high pressure area over Greenland, which normally is a good sign for a blockade and a possible arctic outbreak towards Europe, but it seems that this time it will not be favourable and the outbreak will take place further to the east. A few days later, it might be a hit, but developments are still very uncertain. GFS sees in its latest runs a severe cold outbreak towards Central Europe around Christmas. Serious freezing weather charts, but as said still quite uncertain. The ensemble does not (yet) support this huge cold outbreak.


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