More snow chances for the Western Alps


By Henri on 14 November 2022 · 0

Our snowfall forecast for the next 6 days!
Our snowfall forecast for the next 6 days!

Last weeks, the Alps have been in a more or less blocked pattern where low pressure areas over the Atlantic couldn't penetrate further into Europe. A high-pressure blockade kept cold outbreaks with big snowfalls far away. Next week, things will pick up a bit and the (North)Western Alps in particular will get several precipitation moments. In front of these mighty low-pressure systems over the Atlantic, a front could reach the Alps on a regular basis, but the flow is fairly mild for now, so the snowline will never really drop significantly. Before that happens, some snow will first arrive today from an unusual angle, with quite a low snowline.

Bosco Gurin
Bosco Gurin
Airolo
Airolo

Some snow today

This morning, some regions in the southern Alps are waking up to some snowfall due to the upper level low moving from Italy over the Alps towards the Netherlands. Among others, Bosco Gurin and Airolo in Ticino got some snow above 1200 meters as can be seen on the webcams. Here, I expect around 10 to 15 centimetres. With the south-easterly flow, precipitation will spread over Wallis and northern Piedmont during the morning. Around 10 to 20 centimetres of snow could also fall here.

Some snow may also fall on the north side today due to the passing upper level low, especially in Switzerland. In Austria, the föhn continues to provide dry conditions. We can also see this on this morning's satellite image of clearings on the eastern north side of the Alps. Only in the areas close to the alpine main ridge, some showers may cross.

During the evening, a front moves over the Alps with a south-westerly flow. In particular, the French (Northern) Alps will be able to benefit from this. It will not produce large amounts, but in the westernmost areas some 5 to 10 centimetres of snow may fall above 2200-2400 metres.

Satellite image of this morning (sat24.com)
Satellite image of this morning (sat24.com)
Cold front reaches the western Alps tomorrow evening (wetter3.de ,DWD)
Cold front reaches the western Alps tomorrow evening (wetter3.de ,DWD)

More snow from the west tomorrow night

Tomorrow, the flow turns to the west and another front follows during the evening. Again, the French northern Alps will likely be the hotspot, with up to 20 centimetres of snow above 2300 to 2500 metres. The snowline drops to around 1800 metres during the night on Wednesday and Wednesday morning. The front moves further east again on Wednesday morning and will thus also give Italy, Switzerland and Austria some snow. Here, I do not expect much more than a refresher of about 5 centimetres above 2000 metres in Italy and 1500 metres on the north side.

Behind the front follows a brief dry and, for the Western Alps, sunny interlude. It will not last long, as some snow will again follow from the northwest on Thursday morning. Due to the mild air present, the snowline is initially quite high, temporarily maybe even around 2500 metres. The precise precipitation distribution is still difficult to determine, but it is clear that the north-western Alps will have the advantage. Here, around 20 to 30 centimetres of snow may just fall until Friday. The snowline will also drop a bit below 2000 metres again on Friday during the snowfall.

Significantly colder during the weekend, especially in the northern Alps (wxcharts.com)
Significantly colder during the weekend, especially in the northern Alps (wxcharts.com)

Cooling

So, for now, mainly snow for the north-western Alps (the French Northern Alps and western Switzerland) is expected, but towards the end of the week a serious cooling seems possible in which the rest of the Northern Alps could also receive some more. In any case, the entire northern side of the Alps may have to deal with a snowline down to (well) below 1500 metres. Looking a bit further, next week we see some promising developments with possibly a serious dump in the southern Alps, but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. The weather models are not yet on the same page regarding this snowfall.

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