Today in the Alps...
Updated: 8.10am Thursday 26 March 2015 - Variable cloud, a few showers especially in the south
It’s a messy picture across the Alps this morning, with variable cloud and a scattering of showers, these most frequent in the south-east (notably the Dolomites). The brightest weather is in the western Italian and southern French Alps.
Many Alpine resorts have seen at least a dusting of new snow in the last 24 hours, with some more significant falls in parts of the south, notably the high Dolomites, Osttirol and Carinthia.
Today, most of the snow will again fall in the south-east with a further 10-20cm possible in some parts of the Dolomites, where the rain/snow limit is between 1200 and 1600m.
Elsewhere, there is just a scattering of light showers, though it is colder on the northern side of the Alps (flurries possible to 1000m). The best of the sunshine today will be in the western Italian and southern French Alps.
We will have a full round-up of conditions across the Alps and elsewhere later today.
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Updated: 10.30am Sunday 22 March 2015 - Variable cloud, a few showers
Many resorts have seen at least a little fresh snow over the last 24 hours – with, for example, 3cm in Val d’Isère, 7cm in Val Thorens, 15cm in Zürs and 20cm+ at altitude in the Val d’Anniviers (Switzerland).
Today there is still a lot of cloud about with some showers here and there (snow 1000-1400m), but it should gradually brighten up later in the day.
Monday then looks like being mostly fine before the weather turns very unsettled again mid-week, with the prospect of some more significant snow in places.
Updated: 9am Saturday 21 March 2015 - More unsettled, some rain/snow in places
The Alpine weather has turned more unsettled today with showery rain and snow, mostly in the north-west at first, spreading further south and east later but generally remaining light.
The rain/snow limit will start around 1700-1900m in the north (lower in the south), dropping to closer to 1000m everywhere by tonight. Snowfall totals will generally be modest – typically 2-10cm above 2000m – but with some places staying dry.
Tomorrow (Sunday) the heaviest snow will become more confined to the south-western Italian Alps but there is the possibility of some more widespread significant snow towards the middle of next week.
Updated: 9.50am Friday 20 March 2015 – Mostly fine, though cloudier at times in the west
For many parts of the Alps it’s another dry and bright day, but there is more cloud in the west – particularly in the French and western Italian Alps – which will obscure the sun at times.
The best of the sunshine today will be further east, especially in Austria where skies will remain largely cloudless. Freezing levels this afternoon will be around 2200-2400m which will make it feel pleasantly warm (especially in the sun), but this is not excessively high for late March.
Expect spring conditions with firm snow early in the day, gradually giving way to softer snow/slush except on north-facing slopes above about 2200/2400m, where the snow should stay firm and grippy all day.
Updated: 9.30am Thursday 19 March 2015 – Mostly fine
It’s a dry and mostly sunny day for the Alps, with pleasant but not excessively warm afternoon temperatures (freezing levels around 2100-2400m). Given the time of year, however, spring rules still apply at most levels, with the snow only remaining firm and grippy all day on north-facing slopes above about 2200m.
It will remain mostly fine until the weekend, at which point temperatures will drop a little and a few snow showers will develop here and there. We are not, however, expecting widespread significant snowfalls at this stage.
The very best snow conditions right now are in high altitude resorts in the south-western Alps, which saw big snowfalls earlier in the week, including Sestriere and the Monte Rosa region (Champoluc, Gressoney, Alagna).
Updated: 9.35am Wednesday 18 March 2015 – Big storm in the south-west comes to an end
The four day long snowstorm that has delivered as much as 1.5m of new snow to some south-western parts of the Alps is finally over. All regions can therefore expect a fine dry day with plenty of sunshine and mild afternoon temperatures.
The resorts that have seen really high snowfall totals over the last few days have been mainly in the southern Piedmont. Sestriere, one of the better known names, saw at least 120cm, but there was even more further south in the likes of Prato Nevoso and Limone, where authorities claim 150-180cm!
This snow also crept over the French border, with 80cm+ in the east of the little-known Queyras (Haut Guil) region. Elsewhere in the Italian Alps, the northern Piedmont (e.g. Alagna) and eastern Aosta (e.g. Champoluc, Gressoney) also saw some useful snow, though in much more modest quantities (20-50cm).
Most of the Alps (especially the north) however, have missed out over the last few days, with spring snow conditions increasingly dominant, especially at low altitude. This fine, sunny weather will last until the end of the week before a return to cooler more unstable weather at the weekend.
Updated: 9.20am Tuesday 17 March 2015 – Massive but very localised snowfalls for some south-western parts of the Alps
The Alpine weather has been stuck in a rut for several days now with almost continuous snowfall across some south-western parts of the Alps, such as Sestriere in the Milky Way where the piste patrol confirm that 120cm of snow has fallen since Saturday – locally even more!
Other parts of Italy have also seen significant new snowfall, especially the Piedmont and eastern Aosta (e.g. Monte Rosa region), but also as far east as the western Dolomites (Madonna di Campiglio) albeit in nothing like the above mentioned quantities.
A little snow has also crept over the border into southern Switzerland, especially the eastern Valais (mostly to the east of Zermatt) as well as some lucky French resorts (20cm for example on the Pisaillas glacier above Val d’Isère). For the vast majority of the northern French Alps, however, there has been little or no snow from this storm.
Today there will be further snow for some south-western parts of the Alps, but this will be the last day of the current weather pattern with all regions turning more settled tomorrow.