Some snow in the south-west Alps


By Henri on 11 March 2022 · 0

Dusting of snow in Prali (nuova13laghi.com)
Dusting of snow in Prali (nuova13laghi.com)

Today, it's a bit cloudier in the Western Alps and it's going to snow a bit in Piemonte, but as I said on Wednesday, that's not going to bring a lot of fresh snow. On Sunday, the French southern Alps might get some snow as well, but otherwise it will remain dry and sunny for a couple of days, especially in the eastern Alps. At the end of next week, there are some snow chances in the weather models again, but it's still too uncertain.

Föhndiagram for Switzerland (meteocentrale.ch)
Föhndiagram for Switzerland (meteocentrale.ch)

Föhn

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In the Northern Alps the Südföhn will dominate today and the coming days. This has everything to do with a strong high pressure area directly to the east of the Alps and approaching depressions over the Atlantic Ocean from the west, which means that the pressure difference between the Southern Alps (high) and the Northern & Western Alps (low) can increase significantly. At the moment, we are seeing wind gusts of between 60 and 80 kilometres per hour at many weather stations. On Saturday and Sunday, the föhn will gain strength, especially during the day.

Front approaches, but does not reach the Alps. Some snow for Alpes-Maritimes (wetter3.de, DWD)
Front approaches, but does not reach the Alps. Some snow for Alpes-Maritimes (wetter3.de, DWD)

Some snow in Piedmont and the French Southern Alps

In Piemonte there will be some snow today and tomorrow, but not more than 5 to 10 centimetres. For the Western Alps, I can't exclude some showers, but it will stay mostly dry. On Sunday, a southern flow from the Mediterranean may bring some snow in the French southern Alps. The European model also shows snow in the rest of the Western Alps, but probably the snowfall will be limited to the French Southern Alps and especially in the Alpes-Maritimes because of the föhn. Here 10 to 20 centimetres of snow might fall and our model even adds to that, but I think it's a bit too positive. The snowline will be around 1500 metres.

Snow until Monday
Snow until Monday
Saharan dust next week? (forecast.uoa.gr)
Saharan dust next week? (forecast.uoa.gr)

Saharan dust?

The depression over Spain that could bring a lot of snow to the high mountains of the Pyrenees will pump warm air from the south towards Europe on its eastern flank early next week. This flow could also bring a good portion of Saharan dust into Europe. It is still very uncertain how big the impact will be, but especially on Monday and Tuesday in the Alps it might be less sunny than expected due to diffuse sunlight and/or cloud formation. The Western Alps will have to deal with more clouds early next week anyway due to the south-westerly flow. In the Eastern Alps, it will remain sunny a little longer.

Uncertainty remains

On Tuesday and Wednesday, an upper level low could possibly bring snow to Austria, but these developments are still somewhat uncertain. For further chances of precipitation, we need to look outside the reliable timeframe. At the end of next week, the southern Alps may receive snow under the influence of a low-pressure area over the Iberian Peninsula, but at the moment it is simply too early to talk about this.


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