A large trough over Europe dominates the weather this week with nice and low temperatures, but from tomorrow things change. The cold remains for a while, but we see high pressure building from the Azores to Scandinavia, isolating the low-pressure system over the Mediterranean. At the same time, some 20 to 30 centimetres of snow could fall on the northeastern alpine edge. Locally, half a metre might be possible! After the weekend, it will be the turn of the southeastern Alps.
In this weather report:
- Snowfall in the Pyrenees
- Nordstau in Austria
- Monday in the Southeast Alps
- Mini retour d’Est?
- Persistently cold
The dump in the Pyrenees is now over. The accumulations in the Western Pyrenees were impressive. On a large scale, over a metre of snow fell higher up here. Some mountain passes were closed due to the combination of the heavy snowfall and wind gusts. Of course, with these stormy conditions, the avalanche risk has risen considerably. Tomorrow, some more snow is approaching from the north (centre of gravity a bit more to the east) and some temporary snow may also fall on Monday.
Snow from the north(east) in Austria
Starting today, we see a borderline case for a Powder Alert. Until Sunday morning we will experience a Nordstau in the eastern part of the Northern Alps. The snow comes from an unusual angle (northeast) and also falls with very cold upper air temperatures. I therefore expect that this snow won’t really be able to move into the mountains very well either, so the amounts towards the Alpine main ridge will decrease significantly. The centre of gravity is therefore really in the areas on the northern edge of the Alps: including Salzkammergut, Tennengebirge, but especially in the Bavarian Alps. Think Loser, Taupitz, Hinterstoder, Krippenstein and in Bavaria between Füssen and the Berchtesgadener Land, among others. If you are planning to go, do some nowcasting and check the radar / precipitation analysis and snowfall updates at weather stations frequently. It hasn’t really dumped in this part so far (several ski areas are not even open yet!), so also note that the base here can still be fairly thin in some places, both lower down in the areas and higher up in the karst landscape. With a bit of luck, a large part of the Kitzbüheler Alpen including Fieberbrunn will also benefit a bit.
Until Sunday morning, I expect about 20 to 30 centimetres of snow here, but in the stau areas even locally 40 to maybe even 50 centimetres of snow! Even though this weather situation has the potential to deliver surprises, I think our forecast is just a bit too positive in terms of snow amounts and also the scope of this snowfall. West of Innsbruck, the amounts are decreasing significantly, but there are also still small differences in the weather models. Some more inner-Alpine, the amounts also decrease, although 10 to 20 centimetres could still fall in the Zillertal Alps and the Tauern.
Monday Southeast Alps
Sunday will be dry in many places. A few snow showers are still possible on the north side. However, new snow will follow on Monday, this time from the southeast. Again, it is Slovenia, Carinthia and Styria that will get quite a bit of snow, 30 centimeters to half a metre could be possible, only now the focus is more for the eastern areas (e.g. Koralpe & Petzen). The real cold is driven out by the south-east flow, but it remains cold enough for snow in most valleys. Whether the snowfall also reaches e.g. the Tauern, Salzburgerland and Dolomites is still uncertain! Our model is optimistic along with the European model, but the US model and the German ICON are really still cautious! This is something I hope to clarify tomorrow or the day after.
Mini retour d’Est on the way?
If everything falls into place with this south-easterly flow, then on Monday night the easterly flow over the Po Valley could possibly bump into the southern regions of Piedmont as well. This is because the low-pressure area then moves a bit more towards the west near the Gulf of Genoa. Areas like Prali, Limone Piemonte and Mondolè Ski can thus expect a nice layer of snow, but this development is not yet completely certain. So talking about precise snow amounts is also pointless at the moment.
Due to the same low-pressure area, the Apennines will also experience heavy snowfall. As often, it is all or nothing here: after a dramatic start to winter, locally more than a metre of snow could fall until early next week.
Back to the Alps for a moment. So after the snowfall in the south-eastern Alps on Monday and Tuesday, the real low temperatures will be pushed away from the eastern Alps, but it still remains cold enough. In fact, it looks like the warmer air masses will not get a grip on the Alps at all and we will again have to deal with the inflow of colder air from the north in the second part of next week, possibly also accompanied by snow. Further details are still unknown.