Snowfall for Austria in the forecast

Snowfall for Austria in the forecast

It’s autumn. That may not be so much noticeable in the weather in central and southern Europe, but when you look at the trees and the weather maps you can definitely see that autumn is here. The trees change color and we see bright colors that mark the cold air in the Arctic (blue) and the warm air in southern Europe (yellow/green) on the weather maps.

I wrote the lines below in this article:

  • Can we expect the first big dump around October 23rd, just like last winter? Last winter, the Alps experienced a fantastic Indian Summer until the first snow came down on October 22nd and we could enjoy these kind of pictures on October 23rd. That was pretty amazing. The forecast for next week is looking quite similar with snowfall on October 23rd. What are the odds?


  • But it is also possible that the high-pressure area will be further to the east. In this case, the northern current will gently touch the Alps, while at the same time the air pressure will rise with (much) less snow as a result. The next 120 hours will show us what it will be!

High pressure blocks most of the precipitation, snowfall for Austria

96 hours have passed and it is clear that the highly active high pressure area above the Atlantic and the west of the Alps keeps most of the precipitation at distance. A low pressure area is moving through the North Sea towards the Alps on Wednesday. This results in clouds on the north side of the main alpine ridge, particularly from the east of Switzerland to the far east of Austria.

The cold air with a northwestern current enters the east of Europe and gently touches the east of the Alps. Only the east of Switzerland and the north of Austria will get some precipitation. This results in snow above 1700-2100 meters on Wednesday, with the snow line temporarily fluctuating around 1500 meters. I expect the most precipitation around the Hohe Tauern and on the Dachtstein. But the strong northern wind will have its influence. A lot of snow will be blown around by the strong wind, so don’t expect a thick base like last winter around this time.

Long term: cold air wants to hit the Alps

The models agreed on snow for Wednesday, but the reality is different. It is autumn and that’s a season with a capricious character. There’s a readon that weather models are wrong on the long term (6 days and more) in 50% of the cases. The long term is definitely a gamble.

We will also see an exciting period next week. Cold air moves to the south west of Europe. It will be cold above the Atlantic and this cold air is expected to move into Spain and the Pyrenees this weekend. This ends two weeks of fantasic surf on the French and Spanish coasts. Some snow in the Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa might fall.

Great conditions yesterday
Great conditions yesterday

At the same time, the current in the Alps is turning to the south, with moist air from the Mediterranean moving towards the Alps. This results in snow for the highest peaks of the southern Alps.


The big question is what happens next. The American model GFS hints that the cold air also reaches the Alps. The European model forecasts that the low pressure area stays west of the Alps. The Alps therefore have to deal with a southern current with a Föhn and high temperatures for the northern Alps and snow for the highest peaks of the southern Alps. We will see how this all ends in the coming days. It’s exciting. Will winter make its entrance? Or will we see a lot of rain with snow for the highest peaks on the south side of the Alps?

In short:

  • Short term: snowfall with a lot of wind on the highest peaks in Austria
  • Long term: the battle between warm and cold air

Next update later this week!

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