Today in the Alps...
Updated: 8am Friday 12 February 2016 - Further snow for the western Alps
The western Alps will see further snowfall today, starting later this morning and intensifying this afternoon/evening. The eastern Alps, that’s to say Austria, the eastern Swiss and the central and eastern Italian Alps, will see little or no snowfall from this particular storm.
Later tonight the snow should die away, by which time we may have seen another 15-30cm (locally more) above 1800m across much of the French Alps. Some western parts of Switzerland and the far north-west of Italy will also see a significant snowfall. The rain/snow limit will start low, but will rise to 1000m more in the southern French Alps later.
Saturday may see a temporary reprieve, but further snow will arrive in the western Alps during the morning, again intensifying later in the day. It will remain unsettled on Sunday, with occasional snow showers, again mostly in the west.
Early next week some heavier snow may affect the southern Alps in particular, but there is still lots of uncertainty over this at present.
Updated: 9.35am Thursday 11 February 2016 - Weather window!
Early snow flurries will clear the far eastern Austrian Alps this morning, to leave most regions with a dry day with plenty of sunshine. However, cloud will thicken up again in the west later, with a few light snow flurries likely in the French and western Swiss Alps later this afternoon or this evening.
Today will therefore be an excellent skiing day for much of the Alps, though note that avalanche danger remains high off-piste, even very high in places.
On Friday, further snow will reach the western Alps, while the eastern Alps remain dry and bright. This snow will intensify on Saturday and linger through much of Sunday, again heaviest in the western Alps, with only patchy precipitation further east.
Temperatures will fluctuate, with the rain/snow limit generally quite low, but perhaps reaching 1500m or so for a time in far west on Saturday.
Later on Monday and Tuesday there are indications that the southern Alps may see some very significant snow. Watch this space...
Updated: 9.45am Wednesday 10 February 2016 - Wintry!
It’s a wintry looking picture in the Alps today with further snow in places, chiefly across the north where it will fall to between 400m and 700m.
Looking back over the last 24 hours, we saw some significant falls of snow across the Alps (both north and south) but also some rain lower down (chiefly in the north-west), before an active cold front finally moved in and lowered the temperatures on Tuesday evening.
The highest snowfall totals during this period have been at altitude in the western Alps, especially in the northern French Alps (e.g. Chamonix), the western Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier) and the far north-western Italian Alps (e.g. Courmayeur). These areas have seen 35-60cm of new snow above 2000m.
Most other parts of the Alps have also seen a decent fall of snow, including much of the southern side (e.g. Livigno, Madonna di Campiglio).
Another feature of this storm has been the wind, which has been gusting up to 150km/hr at altitude. Needless to say, off-piste is once again very dangerous in many parts of the Alps.
Today, snow flurries will die away from the southern Alps but continue across many northern parts, where they snow will fall to low levels.
There will be something of a reprieve in the Alpine weather on Thursday and Friday, though further light snow is possible in the west later in the day on both days. Saturday will then see another active storm affect the French and western Swiss Alps, moving further east later.
After a temporary rise in temperatures, it looks like turning much colder again early next week.
Updated: 9.35am Tuesday 9 February 2016 - Turning wild in the north-western Alps
The weather in the Alps remains very unsettled, with plenty of snow in the forecast, especially at altitude in the north-west. However, we also have high winds and rain (lower down) to contend with, which means less than ideal skiing conditions at times.
Overnight there has been some showery rain in the French (mostly northern French) and western Swiss Alps with snow above 1400/1700m. This precipitation will continue today, intensifying later, with the rain/snow limit descending to around 1000m this evening - lower still overnight. Above 2000m we could see 40-60cm of new snow in the north-western Alps by dawn tomorrow, however, it will be extremely windy, making for pretty wild conditions up on the mountain. Expect lots of lift closures and stay on the piste!
The rain/snow will quickly become lighter and patchier the further east you are today with much of Austria, protected by the Foehn wind, staying dry and mild.
The situation in the southern Alps is more complicated, but it seems like the far north-west of Italy (e.g. Courmayeur) will see some heavy snow at altitude today, as will the central and eastern areas (e.g. Livigno, Sella Ronda) later today and overnight. By contrast the south-western Alps (e.g. Sestriere, Isola 2000) will miss the heaviest of the precipitation.
Tonight, with the cold air, the snow-line will drop to low levels in the north-western Alps while remaining above 1000m for a time further east. Tomorrow will be cold with further snow showers to low levels, but these will tend to become increasingly confined to the northern Alps.
We will have more details in our detailed forecast later today…
Updated: 9.25am Monday 8 February 2016 - Very unsettled week ahead
Yesterday, the southern Alps finally saw a proper dump, with 30-50cm of snow falling quite widely, and a bit more in one or two favoured locations such as the extreme south of the French Alps (near Isola 2000), and the far east of Lombardy/western Dolomites (near Passo Tonale).
The western Alps also saw some snow yesterday, though not quite as much as the south (10-30cm generally), while the north-east (including much of Austria) missed the heaviest precipitation this time around.
The weather remains very unsettled today. The last of the showers will quickly move away from the far eastern Alps this morning, but further rain/snow will reach the French and western Swiss Alps during the middle part of the day, moving east to reach western Austria tonight. It will be relatively mild with a rain/snow limit between 1200m and 1500m, but will be very windy at altitude.
Snow quantities will be relatively modest, with typically 10-20cm of new snow above 1800m in the north-western Alps by the end of tonight. The southern Alps will generally see the best of the weather today, with variable cloud and some sunny spells.
Tomorrow, a very potent storm will reach the Alps with heavy snow and high winds for many regions later in the day, especially in the west where an additional 40-70cm of new snow is likely at altitude by Wednesday morning. It will then remain unsettled for the rest of the week with further snow for many areas.
Updated: 12.05pm Sunday 7 February 2016 - Snow for the south at last!
Yes, it’s really happening! For once this winter, it will be the southern side of the Alps that will be most favoured from this latest storm, with significant snowfalls expected today. Western regions will also see snow, but the north-eastern quarter (protected by the Foehn) will stay mostly dry, at least to begin with.
The heaviest snow is likely to be between Lombardy and the western Dolomites (e.g. Passo Tonale), where 50cm or more is possible today. Most other Italian resorts will also see significant snow, as will much of the French Alps and the southern and western Swiss Alps. The north-eastern Alps, especially the northern and eastern Austrian Alps, will stay driest for longest and, generally speaking, will see less snow when it finally arrives later.
The rest of the week will remain very unsettled, with further snow at times, heaviest in the west and south where some further significant accumulations are likely. However, it will never be particularly cold, with some wetter snow or even rain possible at times at low altitude.
Updated: 11.25am Saturday 6 February 2016 - Mostly dry today, but very windy in places
The Alps are under the influence of a strengthening south-westerly airflow today. Most places will be dry, but a few showers (snow 1200m) will reach the southern French and western Italian Alps later in the day. By contrast, the northern Alps will remain dry, bright and very mild, with an increasingly gusty Foehn wind.
Tomorrow, the southern Alps will see their first significant widespread snow in a while, with the heaviest falls reserved for the southern French Alps, the Swiss-Italian border regions (e.g. Zermatt, Monte Rosa), Ticino, Lombardy and the western Dolomites. Other western parts of the Alps will also see a moderate fall of snow, but the north-east (including much of Austria) will see less this time around.
It will remain very unsettled next week with further snow at times, probably heaviest in the west and south. It will never be particularly cold, however, with the chance of some wetter snow or even rain at low altitudes from time to time.
Updated: 9.40am Friday 5 February 2016 - Lots of fresh snow in the northern Alps
The northern Alps have seen lots more snow in the last 24 hours, with 30cm in Lech (Austria) and 40cm in Mürren (Switzerland), for example.
Since Wednesday we have seen 30-50cm of new snow above 1500m in many northern parts of the Alps, and 70cm+ in a few favoured locations. Some southern parts of the Alps have also seen at least a little snow, but here it has been more hit and miss, with many areas staying dry. Their turn will come this weekend.
Back to today, and there are still some snow showers across Austria and the far east of Switzerland this morning. However, most other places are dry and increasingly bright (especially at altitude), and this brightness should extend to most of the Alps later in the day. It will also be milder, with freezing levels as high as 2600m in the west.
Looking a bit further ahead, the weather will turn very unsettled again over the weekend. However, this time the angle of attack will be from the south-west, with the heaviest precipitation in the southern Alps which will bring some much needed significant snowfall.
Further north, we can expect Foehn conditions (mild, dry but windy) on Saturday, before it snows here as well on Sunday.
It will remain very changeable next week with a series of Atlantic depressions moving across the Alps from the west. Expect plenty more snow (especially in the western Alps), but the snow may be rather wet at times low down due to the fluctuating temperatures.
Updated: 10am Thursday 4 February 2016 - More snow for some, heaviest in the north-eastern Alps
Yesterday we saw 15-40cm of new snow across many northern parts of the Alps. Some of the southern Alps also saw some snow but, generally speaking, not nearly as much. With colder air digging in, the rain/snow limit lowered to around 500m in places late in the day.
Today, further snow will reach the northern Alps later, heaviest in the eastern Swiss and Austrian Alps where another 25-40cm is possible by tomorrow morning. However, the snow won’t be quite as heavy in the northern French and western Swiss Alps as it was yesterday. Temperatures will be on the rise today, especially in the west, where the rain/snow limit will exceed 1000m in places by this evening.
Generally speaking, the southern Alps will again see less snow. Bits and pieces will get through in places (especially in the central and eastern Italian Alps), but the south-west will stay mostly dry.
After something of a reprieve on Friday, the weather in the Alps will turn unsettled again over the weekend (especially Sunday) and into next week, with significant snow in many places, especially at altitude.
Updated: 8.05am Wednesday 3 February 2016 - Colder with snow, mostly across the northern Alps
Weathertoski is currently in Zermatt, where it is cloudy this morning with light snow expected to arrive soon. This snow comes courtesy of a cold front which will bring some significant snow and a big (but temporary) drop in temperature to many northern parts of the Alps today. The southern Alps will again only see bits and pieces of snow.
The rain/snow limit will begin at above 1000m in some places early this morning, before descending to all levels later in the day. Above 1500m, some 15-30cm of snow is expected quite widely across the northern Alps by tonight, locally a bit more.
On Thursday, further snow will affect the northern Alps, especially later in the day, with the heaviest falls concentrated across the eastern Alps, notably Austria where another 30cm+ is likely in places. It will also turn a little milder, with the rain/snow limit rising to 1000m or more in the west.
After something of a reprieve on Friday, the weather will turn very unsettled again over the weekend with further snow, first in the south-west then more generally later. It won’t be particularly cold, however, which means some rain is also possible low down.
Updated: 8am Tuesday 2 February 2016 - Still mild, but colder with some snow in places mid-week
It’s another mild day in the Alps today. Most places will be dry, but there is a lot of high cloud around. The best of any sunshine will be later in the day and in the central and southern Alps.
Snow conditions are highly variable right now, especially in the northern Alps, which bore the brunt of Sunday’s storm. At high altitude there is still plenty of fresh snow around, but you need an experienced guide if you are skiing off-piste as the situation is still very dangerous.
Lower down, snow quality is poor, due to being humidified by a combination of rain and high daytime temperatures. There was also a lot of high cloud around last night which meant there was only a partial refreeze at low altitude - all of which adds up to some highly variable snow conditions right now.
The good news is that it will turn colder tomorrow with at least a little fresh snow for many northern parts of the Alps, and some moderate falls in places. There will be further snow showers around on Thursday, before it temporarily settles down again towards the weekend. The southern Alps will again miss most of the snow, a theme which has become all too familiar this winter!
Updated: 2.05pm Monday 1 February 2016 - Exceptionally mild
Weathertoski has arrived in Zermatt today, where it is largely sunny and exceptionally mild for early February. This follows large quantities of rain and snow across the northern Alps yesterday, which has created a high risk of avalanche of off-piste.
Snowfall totals were very significant at altitude in the northern Alps yesterday, with 30-60cm falling quite widely above 2300m and 80cm+ in a few favoured locations in the north-west. Unfortunately the rain/snow line increased steadily throughout the day, surpassing 2000m in the west later. This meant that a lot of snow was lost in the lower resorts of the northern French and western Swiss Alps (e.g. Morzine).
After a much better but exceptionally mild day for most parts today, the good news is that it will turn significantly cooler mid-week, with some snow showers to much lower altitudes across the northern Alps in particular.
Updated: 8.45am Sunday 31 January 2016 - Serious bad weather day in the northern Alps!
As expected, the weather is pretty wild across the northern Alps this morning, especially in the north-west, with a mixture of heavy snow, rain and high winds.
The rain/snow limit is highly variable right now, but is (roughly speaking) sitting at between 1200m and 1600m in the north-western Alps, and between 600m and 1200m in the north-eastern Alps.
At altitude there has already been some significant snowfall overnight (30cm in Val d’Isère, for example) with plenty more to come today. It is turning warmer, however, which means that the snow will turn increasingly to rain below 2000m in the west as the day goes on (perhaps even 2200m this evening). Further east, the snow-line will remain lower, especially in the more internal valleys, but will still tend to rise.
Tonight, rain and snow will die away to leave a mostly fine but exceptionally mild day on Monday, with freezing levels in excess of 3500m in the west.
Snowfall totals from this storm will be impressive at altitude in the northern Alps, especially in northern France (e.g. Chamonix), and northern and western Switzerland (e.g. Verbier, Engelberg) where 40-70cm of new snow is forecast above 2300m, locally a bit more. Parts of Austria will also see significant snow, especially the north and west (e.g. St Anton), but the southern Alps will again miss most of the action.
Needless to say, avalanche danger will be very high in the northern Alps tomorrow, complicated by the unusually high freezing levels.
Looking a bit further ahead, it will cool down again mid-week with some further snow showers, mostly in the north.
Updated: 12.30pm Saturday 30 January 2016 - Major bad weather day in the north on Sunday!
After a relatively benign weather day on Saturday, active weather fronts will reach the north-western Alps tonight.
This afternoon, high cloud is already spreading into the northern French and western Swiss Alps. This will continue to thicken, with the first precipitation due in the far north-west early this evening.
Tonight it will snow heavily in the northern French, northern and western Swiss Alps, and later in western Austria. The rain/snow limit will begin at around 1200m, but lower temporarily to 400-700m in the east, before rising again tomorrow morning.
The bad weather will continue on Sunday, with further heavy precipitation across most of the northern Alps. It will, however, become increasingly mild, with the rain/snow limit rising to 2000m or higher in the west later. Further east (i.e. Austria), it will remain low for a time before creeping up to between 1200m and 1600m by the end of the day.
Throughout this period the southern Alps will again miss the bulk of the precipitation, with just a few showers here and there. Snowfall totals from this storm will be highest in the north-western Alps - i.e. the northern French Alps (e.g. Chamonix), northern and western Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier, Mürren) and far western Austrian Alps (e.g. St Anton). Above 2300m these areas could see 30-50cm of new (but windblown) snow, locally 60cm+. Lower down, however, rain will be a problem.
Monday will see a big improvement in the weather, but it will be exceptionally mild with freezing levels in excess of 3500m in the west!
Updated: 9.40am Friday 29 January 2016 - Still mild, big storm on Sunday
There has been a dusting of snow overnight across some northern parts of the Alps above 1600-1800m, but no more than that. A much more potent storm will hit the north-western Alps on Saturday night.
The northern French and western Swiss Alps will be hit first, on Saturday night, before the bad weather spreads east to affect much of Switzerland and parts of Austria, notably the west, on Sunday.
The rain/snow limit will start between 1200m and 1500m on Saturday night, but rise towards 2000m later on Sunday, especially in the west. At 2500m we could see 40-60cm of new snow in some north-western parts of the Alps (e.g. Chamonix, Verbier), but it will be extremely wet and soggy lower down.
The higher resorts of eastern Switzerland (e.g. Laax) and western Austria (e.g. St Anton, Ischgl) should also see some significant snow at altitude, but the southern half of the Alps will again miss the bulk of the precipitation.
Looking a bit further ahead and, after a mostly fine but very mild day on Monday, it will cool down towards the middle of next week with a little snow in places, chiefly in the north.
Updated: 9.30am Thursday 28 January 2016 - Still mild, with a dusting of snow in north tonight
There’s another mild day in store for the Alps. Most places will be dry, but cloud will thicken later with a little rain/snow expected across the northern Alps tonight.
The rain/snow limit will start at round 1500-1800m tonight, dropping to 1200m or lower later. However, snowfall totals are expected to be very modest, with just 1-5cm in the north and the southern Alps, again staying dry.
Expect variable snow conditions across the Alps today, with the best skiing at altitude and on-piste. Lower down, there is something of a freeze-thaw cycle in place, especially on the slopes more exposed the sun.
It will stay mild over the next few days, with some more significant rain/snow expected in the northern Alps on Sunday.
Updated: 9.20am Wednesday 27 January 2016 – Remaining very mild
The weather in the Alps is broadly similar to what we saw yesterday. Most areas are bright, but there is a lot of high cloud around, thickest in the north, with the best of the sunshine in the south. Temperatures are again way above average for January, with freezing levels close to 3000m.
A very weak weather front will bring a few showers to the northern Alps tomorrow evening/night, with a dusting of snow at altitude, though not amounting to much.
The next precipitation of any note will be on Sunday, again mostly affecting the northern Alps. It will be mild, however, with a rain/snow limit between 1500m and 2000m.
So with the weather in the Alps as mild as it is, the best snow conditions are at altitude right now. Lower down, it will again feel a bit spring-like today with some slush on south-facing slopes by afternoon.
By contrast, it is still possible to find cold wintry snow on higher north-facing slopes, even some powder in the northern Alps - if you know where to look.
Updated: 9.15am Tuesday 26 January 2016 - Another exceptionally mild day
The weather in the Alps is exceptionally mild again today, with freezing levels close to 3000m. Most places will be sunny (above any valley fog patches), but there are some areas of high cloud drifting around, thickest across the northern Alps.
As for snow conditions, these have become more variable in the mild weather this week. At altitude the slopes are still generally in good condition, and there are pockets of powder to be found. Lower down, however, the snow has become spring-like in places, especially on slopes exposed to the sun.
It will stay on the mild side for the rest of the week. After a dry day on Wednesday, some weak weather fronts will bring a little snow to parts of the northern Alps on Thursday and Friday. The southern side of the Alps will again stay mostly dry.
Updated: 9.20am Monday 25 January 2016 - Mostly sunny, very mild
There was some new snow over the weekend, most of it falling on Saturday, and in Austria (5-20cm). However, it has now turned very mild in the Alps and temperatures will remain above normal all week. There isn’t much snow in the forecast either, but there will be plenty of sun.
Today, some parts of Austria will start cloudy, but generally speaking we can expect lots of sunshine and exceptionally mild temperatures across the Alps, with freezing levels as high as 3300m in the west. This will make for some very pleasant skiing conditions for anyone lucky enough to be in the Alps at the moment, especially on-piste.
Off-piste there are still pockets of powder to be found, especially at altitude, and in the north and east. Generally speaking, however, the rise in temperature means that snow conditions off the beaten track are more variable, especially lower down and on slopes exposed to the sun.
Updated: 10.40am Sunday 24 January 2016 - Mostly fine and increasingly mild
High cloud is affecting some northern parts of the Alps today, especially in northern Austria. Elsewhere there is plenty of sunshine, particularly in the inner Alpine valleys and across the south.
We are now entering a much milder spell of weather in the Alps, which will last all of this week and probably beyond. There will be plenty more sunshine, but weather fronts will never be far from the northern Alps, with Thursday the most likely day to see some showers. We do not, however, expect any significant or widespread snowfall any time soon.
Updated: 11am Saturday 23 January 2016 - A little new snow, mostly in the north-eastern Alps
A weak weather front skirted the northern Alps last night, bringing a dusting of snow in places but also a little rain lower down.
The heaviest snow (5-15cm) was in the Austrian Alps, where it is still snowing this morning (away from the far south). Further west, however, it is brightening up and this brighter weather will extend to most regions as the day progresses. The best of any sunshine will again be in the southern Alps, especially the south-west, where there has been little if any precipitation.
So with this more humid and relatively mild air in place over the Alps, snow conditions are not quite as fabulous now as they were for much of the past week. However, there is still lots of good skiing to be had, particularly at altitude. There is even a little powder in places this morning, mostly in the north-eastern quarter of the Alps.
Updated: 9.35am Friday 22 January 2016 - Glorious!
The weather will be glorious in the Alps today, with (almost) wall to wall sunshine, spoilt only by some high cloud drifting into north-western regions later in the afternoon.
After a very cold start, it will feel quite pleasant in the sunshine, with freezing levels close to 2000m in the west, but lower in the east. This evening, a few light showers (snow 1500m) will reach the north-western Alps, spreading further east overnight.
On Saturday these showers will transfer into Austria, while the north-western Alps brighten up. Generally speaking, snowfall totals will be modest (2-10cm), but 20cm+ is possible in some parts of Austria, especially at altitude and to the east of Innsbruck. The rain/snow limit will be around 1500m in the west, but starting as low as 700m in the east before rising to 1200m or more.
Sunday should see most of the showers die away from the eastern Alps, but it may stay rather cloudy. Further west, it should be brighter with relatively mild temperatures across the board. Throughout the weekend, the southern Alps will again stay mostly dry.
So, after a fabulous day right across the Alps today, snow conditions will become a little more variable over the weekend, with the introduction of milder, more humid air, especially across the northern Alps. Don’t expect a huge amount of new snow, but some powder is possible at altitude, especially in Austria later on Saturday, and early Sunday.
It will continue relatively mild for much of next week, with weather fronts never far away from the northern Alps.
Updated: 9.25am Thursday 21 January 2016 - Some cloud in the far east of the Alps, otherwise mostly sunny
There are still areas of cloud affecting some eastern parts of the Alps this morning, and even a light flurry here and there in northern Austria. However, for the vast majority of the Alps it is sunny (at least at altitude,) and these sunnier skies should reach most areas as the day progresses.
It will remain relatively cold, especially in the east, but the trend is for temperatures to continue to rise and it should feel quite pleasant in any sunshine.
Tomorrow (Friday) looks like being a glorious day right across the Alps, with lots of sunshine and excellent skiing conditions across the board.
Snow conditions remain excellent across the northern half of the Alps with plenty of powder still to be found if you know where to look, though note that the risk of avalanche remains considerable.
In the southern Alps, with the exception of parts of France and the far north-west of Italy (e.g. Courmayeur), cover is still thin and you are more or less obliged to stick to the pistes.
After a magnificent weather day tomorrow, it will turn unsettled again over the weekend. However, with milder air in the mix, the rain/snow limit may rise to 1500m or higher in the western Alps for a while. Tune in for further details tomorrow…