Latest snow forecast
Updated: 2pm Friday 20 November 2015
After nearly three weeks of often sunny and unseasonably mild weather, the weather in the Alps is has turned, with significant snow for many (but not all) regions over the next few days.
Today, Friday, we are still on the warm side of the polar front, which means lots of rain below 2200m in the north-western half of the Alps, but lots of snow high up!
Tonight, it will turn much colder from the north, with snow falling to increasingly low levels during the course of Saturday. These snow showers will continue into Sunday, but will become increasingly confined to the north.
Between Friday and Sunday we are expecting over 1m of new snow above 2500m in parts of the northern and western Alps (French Savoie/Haute-Savoie, Swiss Valais/Vaud/Bernese Oberland), with very locally 150cm or more in a few favoured spots - such as the north side of Mt Blanc.
Many other parts of the Alps will see a useful fall, including most of the Swiss Alps, the western Austrian Alps (especially the Vorarlberg and western Tirol) and in Italy, the north-western Aosta valley. Most other parts of Italy, however, as well as the far south of Austria and the far southern French Alps, will only see very modest accumulations (no snow at all even for some).
Note that it will often be very windy during this period, with increasingly treacherous conditions in the mountains, especially (but not exclusively) in the west where the avalanche danger will become high.
The rest of Friday will see showers or longer spells of rain for many regions, though some southern and eastern parts of the Alps (East Tirol, Carinthia) will stay mostly dry. The rain/snow level will generally remain above 2000m.
Tonight the rain will intensify across the north and west (especially the Vorarlberg and Tirol) but, with colder air flooding in from the north, the rain/snow level will lower to 500-800m by dawn in the north, but remain over 1000m further south.
Saturday will be cold with the chance of snow showers (400-800m) in most regions.
It will become colder still on Sunday, with further snow showers to low levels, mostly in the northern and western Austrian Alps.
The rest of Friday will be mostly cloudy with rain at times, though the far south may stay dry with sunny spells (Alpes Maritimes). The rain/snow limit will start between 2100m and 2400m, but will lower later in the day. This evening and overnight the precipitation will intensify further, with snow descending to 700-1000m (perhaps lower) by dawn.
Saturday will be cold and mostly cloudy with showers or longer spells of snow, still heaviest in the north (Savoies) where it will fall to 400-800m. The best of any brightness will be in the far south.
Sunday will be colder still with occasional snow showers to very low levels, mostly in the northern Alps.
The rest of Friday will be mostly cloudy, though some brighter spells are possible both in the far south-west (southern Piedmont) and the east (Dolomites). The north-western Alps (Aosta Valley) will see some rain at times with snow above 2200m.
It will turn colder tonight, with snow descending to 1000m or so in the upper Aosta Valley by dawn. Some other parts of the Italian Alps will also see some showers, though accumulations of snow will generally be modest, and one or two spots will remain completely dry.
Saturday will continue to see some snow showers in the upper Aosta Valley (Courmayeur, La Thuile, Cervinia). Elsewhere, snow showers will be fewer and further between, with the possible exception of the far eastern Dolomites where some more persistent snow could move up from the Balkans.
Sunday will be colder still, but most places will remain dry with sunny spells, with the exception of the border areas which may see a few flurries here and there.
The rest of Friday will be cloudy with showers or longer spells of rain, heaviest and most persistent in the north and west (e.g. Bernese Oberland, Valais), with snow above about 2200m. Tonight, the precipitation will intensify further but, with colder air digging in from the north, it will start to snow to lower and lower altitudes, reaching between 700m and 1000m by dawn.
Saturday will be cold with plenty of snow showers (400-800m), heaviest in the northern half of the Alps.
Sunday will be colder still with further snow showers, this time likely to be heaviest in the north-eastern Swiss Alps.
It looks like it will remain relatively cool and unsettled for much of next week, with the chance of further snow for many at times.
Next detailed snow forecast will be on Tuesday 24 November 2015, but see Today in the Alps for daily updates