Regarding the weather models, we have had some tumultuous days. They behaved quite erratically. One time we saw more snow for a larger area, say from the Brenta Dolomites to the extreme Eastern Alps and also some serious snowfall for Austria, and then the new model run and/or another model came back with more pessimistic maps with only serious snowfall in the Carnic and Julian Alps. Meanwhile, we are on the eve of the snow episode and a bit more has become clear. It’s time to see what the models present us with this morning.
Some snow for the northern Alps
Before that happens, there will be some snow in the northern Alps today. With a north-westerly flow, some snow showers will pass over Austria in particular. The snowline will fluctuate between the lowest valleys and a few hundred metres above. In the stau areas of Vorarlberg Tyrol and southern Germany, some 5 to 10 centimetres of snow could still fall. More inneralpine, the sun will shine and it will remain mostly dry.
Snow from the west this afternoon
The real snow phase we have been talking about for a while starts from the west during the afternoon. Soon, a small low-pressure core develops over the Mediterranean, moving towards the Gulf of Genoa. In the Western Alps, after about 5 to 15 centimetres until tomorrow morning, it will be over pretty soon. In Austria, first of all, it remains dry. Piedmont and Ticino are largely in the precipitation shadow and only east of the Brenta Dolomites do precipitation amounts increase.
The various models do not yet fully agree on the precipitation distribution, especially for Austria (wxcharts.com)
Lots of snow for the south-eastern Alps
The frontrunners will be the (southern) Dolomites, Julian Alps, Carnic Alps and Slovenia. Here, 30 to 50 centimetres of snow could fall on a large scale, with locally well above that! The snowline is largely (well) below 1,000 metres. With the intensive precipitation it may also drop to around 500 metres. Because colder air is also present on the northern side, the precipitation will also spread to the northern Alps. Here, I expect a snowline of around 800 to 1,000 metres.
How much the Austrian Alps and thus also the glacier areas will benefit is still not possible to say with high confidence. The models still(!) disagree on these details, but the areas around the Alpine main ridge seem to get the most. From the Zillertal Alps to the Tauern, 30 to 40 centimetres of snow could fall. Also here, this snowfall will likely be the good base for areas like Weißsee, Obertauern and the Mölltaler Glacier. If everything falls into place, I do not rule out the possibility of more falling here as well, but as the different models have not been consistent in recent days, I cannot give that guarantee. Other areas also pick up snow, but I do not yet expect it to be more than 10 to 20 centimetres, again, a surprise is still not completely out of the question.
Below another map from the Mitteleuropa Super HD weather model by Kachelmann. The precipitation amounts here have steadily decreased(!) over the past model runs, especially for Austria. You get a bit of an idea of what the potential is, but I really can’t rule out the possibility that these precipitation amounts will be reduced even further.
Some more snow from the west on Wednesday
A new front will follow from the west during Wednesday afternoon and evening. Around 10 centimetres of snow is likely to fall in the north-western Alps. Behind the front, air pressure rises quickly and it clears up quickly from the southwest. However, the European model lets it snow a bit longer in the northern Alps on Thursday with some snow showers. Precipitation may again reach the north-west Alps during the night from Thursday to Friday.