It's November 11th and 123 cm of snow just appeared at a measuring station. When I look at the webcams you can see the accumulating. Winter has started! The first video reports are coming in and lots of people will ride powder the next couple of days. There's plenty of snow in the entire Alps and the snow above 2000-2200 meters forms a base for the rest of the winter. Winter has started, just like I've analyzed two weeks ago: There is a high chance that the Polar Vortex will remain week the next couple of months and the chances on a cold start of the winter will rise. We expect the first snowfall of the season in the beginning of November.
Winter has started cold and the first storm brought lots of snow. The next couple of weeks will be crucial for the rest of the winter, but more about that on Sunday. Let's have a look at the powder that came down the last 48 hours and that will come down the next 24 hours.
In this forecast:
The measuring station in Les Marécottes tell us that the snow cover is 123 cm thick this morning. Please note: this is the snow cover. If you look at the data, you'll see that a whopping 159 cm of the magic stuff came down the last couple of days. This measuring station is showing the highest values, which is quite logical with a current coming from the west to northwest.
Plenty of freshies came down in the other resorts in the French northern Alps and the west of Switzerland. The snow cover is 50 cm thick around 2000 meters, but it's much thicker in many places. It's abouy 80-100 cm thick above 2500 meters and it's even white in the valleys above 800-1300 meters. The map below of the Swiss Alps is showing lots of freshies that came down in the valleys the last couple of days.
It's ON in the French Northern Alps as well. You can find up to 80 cm of snow at 2200 meters in the Savoie, and when you look at webcams it feels like February and not like November. Check out this image from Megève where you can skin up the non-groomed slopes. Wow!
If we look more closely at the statitics we come to the conclusion that it's looking good. Half a meter of snow at 2000 meter altitude simply is a great start of the winter!
The front started to move east during the night. You can see the effects at the measuring station in Engelberg, where it really started dumping the next couple of hours. You can see the peak in the chart and it's still snowing over there.
The weather stations in Austria tell us that the most snow came down west of the Arlberg this morning. When the front comes from the west it always snows more west of the line Kappl, Arlberg, Kleinwalsertal. There are a lot of high peaks on that line that block the snow from the west to the northwest and that's the reason the Arlberg gets more snow.
But one look at our snow maps is showing Austria will get a lot of snow today. The snowfall will decrease in the west, but it will keep on snowing in Austria for a while.
Saturday starts brilliant in the French Alps. It is sunny, with lots of fresh snow and blue skies. Further east, it will still snow lightly, but the sun will come out during the day. The opposite will happen on Sunday. A warm front with high grey clouds will cause some diffuse light at first, but you can also expect rising temperatures and even rain below 1500-1800 meters. It's still cloudy in the valleys in the east, but the sun is still shining on the higher parts of the mountain.
This basicly is my advice:
Please note: The temperatures will rise on Saturday. The instability of the snow cover will rapidly increase thanks to the rise in temperature and this leads to more avalanche activity.
The jet stream will move to the north and the NAO index will be positive. The temperature will rise again after the weekend and will end at the normal values for the time of year. The snow will settle itself and will form the base for the rest of the season above 2000 meters. The way this transformation will take place will be pretty important. It will be of huge influence if that layer will be a problem later this winter. I'll keep you posted.
Stay stoked. Morris.