Loads of Saharan dust in the Alps

Loads of Saharan dust in the Alps
Desert conditions yesterday in Sankt Anton (foto-webcam.eu)
Desert conditions yesterday in Sankt Anton (foto-webcam.eu)

The Alps are currently under the spell of Sahara sand. Yesterday, a strong southerly flow brought a heavy load of sand particles. The north-western Alps were the first to benefit, but the orange glow then moved further east. In this weather report:

  • Saharan dust
  • Snow and rain in Austria
  • Stagnating front
  • Snow in Piedmont at the end of the week

Sahara sand

^The weather forecasts on wePowder are powdered by our friends at Ortovox

The dust particles in the air are causing more clouds and also a lot of orange images. Yesterday morning the warm front with the dust particles arrived in the northwest Alps, but during the afternoon Austria also had to deal with desert conditions. Also in the Pyrenees, the southern flow caused bizarre scenes. In the short video above, you can see a thick layer of sand with impressive white tops on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. On the highest peaks it has snowed on top of the sand layer. This image you see (to a lesser extent) also on the webcam of for example Sankt Anton am Arlberg. A round of Sahara images:

Thick layer of dust in Piau-Engaly (Pyrenees) yesterday (skipass.com)
Sunny morning in Val d'Isère with Saharan dust still in the air (roundshot.com)
Sahara sand on the snow surface and hazy conditions in Anzère (roundshot.com)
Further to the east also sand on the snow surface, as here in Sankt Anton (foto-webcam.eu)
Jamtalferner (foto-webcam.eu)
Mooserboden Kaprun (foto-webcam.eu)
Saharan dust visible from above (worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov)

Some snow and rain in Austria

On the webcam image of Kaprun you can see that it rained a little bit last night up to 2000 meters in Austria. Because of the inflow of some colder air, the snowline will decrease in the course of the morning to about 1200 to 1500 meters, but there won’t be a lot of fresh snowfall left. Because of the clouds, it has hardly frozen anywhere, which makes the snow cover quite wet already in the morning. Today it should become sunny from the west, but the Saharan dust can still provide some extra clouds and diffuse sunlight. Until Friday, the Alps will have to deal with an increased concentration of Sahara dust in the air and it will also be quite mild.

Stagnant front Thursday (wetter3.de, DWD)
Stagnant front Thursday (wetter3.de, DWD)

Stagnant front

On Thursday, the high-pressure area over the Azores will move to the north-east and will try to make a connection with a strong high-pressure area over Russia. In front of this high pressure area, a weak front that belongs to a low pressure area over the North Sea will follow, but because of the increasing high pressure influence the front stagnates just northwest of the Alps, so I don’t really expect precipitation. In the north-western Alps, there may be at most a temporary some drops of rain. While the day will be mostly cloudy in the Western Alps, the Eastern Alps might have some sunshine for a while.

Some snow in Piedmont and the southern edge of the Alps
Cold easterly flow (wetter3.de, DWD)

Snow in Piedmont

Later this week some fresh snow will follow, which is due to the connection of the two high pressure areas. The high air pressure north of the Alps will create an easterly flow, which will transport cold air to the (south)west. Most of the cold will again be for Southeast Europe, but the Eastern and Southern Alps will also benefit from this. Piemonte and southernmost regions of the Southern Alps can even expect some snow as the cold air here will collide directly with the Alps. I expect some 5 to 15 centimetres of snow here.

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oshriabutbulAuthor16 March 2022 · 14:19

You’ve gotta laugh at this winter 😂 otherwise it’s sad

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