The west of Europe, and therefore also the Alps, are suffering from a strong western supply, which means that one disturbance after another can reach the Alps. This has caused a lot of snow, especially higher up, in recent days. After today the Alps will enter calmer waters for a while.
Locally a meter of snow this weekend
A large disturbance is moving from southwest to northeast across the west of the Alps today. The French, Italian and Swiss Alps in particular are experiencing precipitation today. The focus seems to be on the borders with France, Italy and Switzerland. From roughly 1500 meters this precipitation falls in the form of snow. The freezing point fluctuates around 2000 meters. In the area just mentioned, about 20 to 40 centimeters will fall today from 2000 meters. The wind comes from the west and is often moderate in force. In total, the amounts that have fallen since yesterday could amount to up to a meter of snow! What a start to the winter season for the higher mountains!
In the rest of the Alps we are also seeing snowfall today, albeit of a different order. The snow in Salzburgerland and Carinthia on the snow map below mainly fell last night. However, the snowfall limit is a lot higher in Carinthia; around 2000 meters. South-eastern Switzerland and a large part of Tyrol have the best prospects for drier conditions with a chance of some sunshine this afternoon. There is plenty of sun directly on the east side of the Italian Alps, where it is clear blue with plenty of sun. This is because all clouds and precipitation are blocked by the highest mountains.
The satellite (source: Weerplaza) clearly shows that it is sunny, especially on the eastern side of the Italian Alps. The southeast of Switzerland and Tyrol will also see some sun today.
Why is it so remarkably sunny in Italy? This is because the air is pushed against the mountains by the strong west wind. Clouds form due to condensation and these rain and snow out on the west side. The air descends at the back of the mountain, dries out and takes the heat with it. It can also be a maximum of 17 degrees there today!
Breathing space, more sun, colder and more often dry
From tomorrow the Alps will enter somewhat calmer waters. Because high pressure above southeastern Europe can exert slightly more influence over the Alps, the active disturbances remain somewhat more distant. In any case, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday seem to be the better days. The sun will show itself regularly on all days. The wind will also remain calm.
However, it will not remain completely dry, there is a chance of showers on both Monday and Tuesday. At the moment, Wednesday has the best credentials to possibly stay completely dry. If there is a shower, depending on the altitude, it could be a rain or snow shower. The snowfall limit tomorrow will still be at an average of 1500 meters, but it will gradually drop. On Wednesday the snowfall limit is on average around 1200 meters. The frost line will of course also drop as a result, it will be around 1500 meters on Wednesday. During the nights there will be light to moderate frost in the mountains, the night towards Wednesday also locally severe, around -10 degrees.
We can conclude that the weather will be calm and wintery in the coming days, especially above 2000 meters. Winter is already starting to warm up in the mountains. The slopes that are open in the high mountains will have excellent conditions at the beginning of the coming week.
Changeable again, possibly plenty of snow again during the weekend
From Thursday, the Alps also appear to be falling prey to the active disruptions again. It is still a bit early for details, but from the west it will rain during the day on Thursday and snow again higher up. This is the starting signal of a new volatile period. From the coming weekend, the upper air also seems to be getting colder again and we can probably expect new snow in many places.
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Road traffic controller & slipperiness coordinator at Rijkswaterstaat. Also a junior meteorologist at Weerplaza.