Today in the Alps...

Updated: 12pm Tuesday 28 January 2020 - Stormy!

 

A major Atlantic storm has reached the Alps, with significant snow expected across many northern and western regions over the next day or two.

Lech, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 28 January 20 Heavy snow in Lech this morning – 28 January 2020 – Photo: lech.com

Some southern and eastern parts of the Alps remain dry today, however many regions will see some showers or longer spells of rain or snow which will continue overnight and into tomorrow. The heaviest precipitation will fall in the north-western Alps, with predicted storm totals of 50-80cm above 1800m by tomorrow in the French Savoies (e.g. Paradiski, 3 Valleys, Grand Massif, Mt Blanc area).

 

Many northern and western Swiss resorts (e.g. Verbier, Engelberg), some western Austrian resorts (e.g. Lech, St Anton) and the far north-west of Italy (e.g. Courmayeur, La Thuile) will see 30-50cm by the end of tomorrow but, on the whole, the further south and east you are the less snow there will be. The central/eastern Austrian Alps (e.g Obertauern, Hintertux) will see 10-20cm of new snow, while the rest of the Italian Alps (i.e. away from the north-west) will generally only either a dusting or up to 15cm.

 

This storm’s rain/snow limit started at around 1500-1700m yesterday evening but has now fallen to under 1000m in the western Alps today and will generally level out at between 500m and 900m later today and tomorrow.

 

After a brief respite in the weather early on Thursday, further but weaker weather fronts will arrive from the west later in the day. It will turn warmer though, with the rain/snow limit rising back up to 1500m or higher.

 

The weather will then remain mild but rather unsettled over the weekend with further bits and pieces of rain and snow here and there, heaviest in the north and west.

 

By next Tuesday we are then expecting a major outbreak of cold polar air to bring heavy snow to low altitudes across many parts of the Alps, especially in the north. Watch this space…

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Updated: 9.30am Monday 27 January 2020 - Major snowfall for some western parts of the Alps…

 

The Alps are currently being approached by a major Atlantic storm which is set to deliver significant quantities of snow to many western parts over the next couple of days.

Bergfex chart showing 72-hour predicted snowfall totals for the Alps – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 27 January 2020 72-hour predicted snowfall totals for the Alps showing the heaviest falls in the northern French Alps – 27 January 2020 – Image: bergfex.com

After a fine start across many parts of the Alps, cloud will increase in the west today with the first precipitation arriving in the French and western Swiss Alps this evening (snow 1500-1700m). The precipitation will intensify tonight and tomorrow across the western Alps, with the rain/snow limit gradually lowering towards or even below 1000m. It will also become very windy with blizzards expected at altitude.

 

The northern French Alps (roughly north of Grenoble) and the south-western Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier) are set to see the heaviest snow from this storm, with a forecast 40-60cm above 1800m by Wednesday, and 80cm+ in a few favoured spots in France.

 

As a rule, the further south and east you are, the less significant any snow will be. That said, there will still be some useful falls across the eastern Swiss Alps, most of the Austrian Alps and some parts of the Italian Alps, especially in the north-west (e.g. La Thuile, Cervinia).

 

Late on Wednesday there will be a brief respite in the weather, before a new front reaches the Alps on Thursday. This will be a warm front, meaning that the rain/snow limit will rise from relatively low altitudes back up to 1500m or higher. 

Updated: 2pm Wednesday 22 January 2020 – A little cloud in the south-west otherwise still mostly sunny…

 

It’s another lovely day across most of the Alps, though there is a bit more in the way of cloud across some parts of the southern French and south-western Italian Alps (e.g. Isola 2000, Bardonecchia). 

Les Saisies, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 22 January 2020 Sunny if slightly hazy skies over Les Saisies today – 22 January 2020 – Photo: lesaisies.com

The clouds come courtesy of the same Mediterranean storm that is currently delivering copious amounts of snow to the eastern Pyrenees. The south-western Alps will eventually also see a few showers/flurries later this week and over the weekend from this storm, although no significant or widespread snow is expected.

 

Snow conditions in the Alps remain pretty good in most places even if cover is getting bit thin or patchy at very low altitudes. Temperatures have become quite mild again, after an initially cold start to the week, but snow melt will be minimal thanks to the dry air, and all pistes should remain firm and grippy.

 

Some more widespread precipitation is expected across the northern Alps early next week but, with plenty of warm air still in the mix, there may be some nuisance value rain at lower altitudes. Watch this space…

Updated: 3pm Tuesday 21 January 2020 - Still mostly sunny in the Alps, but milder…

 

Yesterday was just about the perfect ski day in the Alps with little or no wind, deep blue skies, frigid temperatures and fresh snow still hanging on the trees from the weekend in places.

Ischgl, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 21 January 2020 Perfect weather and prefect pistes in Ischgl right now – 21 January 2020 – Photo: facebook.com/Ischgl.Paznaun

With high pressure still in control, today has also been pretty good, though one key difference is that temperatures are much milder, especially at altitude. The next couple of days will also remain mostly fine and relatively mild.

 

More in the way of cloud, and a few showers/flurries, will creep into the south-western Alps towards the end of the week. We are not expecting any significant or widespread snowfall though, and high pressure will reassert itself, bringing lots more fine weather that could last into the first part of February.  

Updated: 12pm Monday 20 January 2020 - Cold but mostly sunny in the Alps…

 

It’s a glorious if rather cold day across most of the Alps, with just a little more in the way of cloud and the odd flurry, in both the eastern Austrian Alps and southern Piedmont (Italy). 

Lech, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 20 January 2020 Gloriously sunny in Lech today with fresh snow from the weekend storm still clinging to the trees – 20 January 2020 – Photo: lech.com

With high pressure in control, the weather in the Alps will remain fine for most of this week. Temperatures will also increase but, thanks to low humidity, any snowmelt will be minimal and confined to low south-facing slopes. Towards the end of the week it may turn slightly more unsettled with a little snow in places, but nothing significant is expected at this stage.

 

Snow conditions in the Alps are generally pretty good right now. Fresh snow fell over the weekend, starting in the western Alps on Friday night before spreading further east on Saturday, with some flurries lingering in the east on into Sunday.

 

Snowfall totals from the latest storm were generally quite modest, though they did reach 20-35cm in places, chiefly in the northern Alps.

 

One notable feature of the weekend’s weather was how much colder it turned, with Sunday’s residual snow flurries falling to very low levels before temperatures fell to -20°C or lower in some internal Alpine valleys on Sunday night. 

Updated: 10am Saturday 18 January 2020 - Temporary return to winter…

 

Winter has returned to the Alps, if only temporarily. Many parts of the Alps are waking up to fresh snow this morning, albeit not generally in large quantities. It will continue to snow for a while today across some north-eastern parts of the Alps (mostly in Austria), but the sun is out again in the western Alps. 

Méribel, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 18 January 2020 Fresh snow and sunny skies in Méribel this morning – 18 January 2020 – Photo: merinet.com

This latest storm has delivered 5-30cm above 1500m in the northern Alps, with the heaviest falls in the north-west, where Avoriaz, Flaine and Mürren have all seen around 25cm at 2000m. Less snow has fallen in the central and southern Alps, with barely anything in places but up to 15cm in some parts of the southern French Alps.

 

Next week high pressure will become the dominant weather feature again, meaning that there will be lots of sunshine across the Alps, especially at altitude. 

Updated: 2pm Friday 17 January 2020 - New snow for the Alps, but not in huge quantities…

 

It’s snowing again this afternoon across the western Alps (i.e. the French and western Swiss Alps) with a rain/snow limit around 1300-1500m, which will drop to below 1000m tonight.

Chamrousse, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 17 January 2020 Heavy snow this afternoon in Chamrousse near Grenoble – 17 January 2020 – Photo: chamrousse.com

This band of precipitation will move eastwards overnight, reaching the western Austrian Alps in the early hours of Saturday, then the eastern Austrian Alps by daylight tomorrow.   

 

Snowfall totals from this storm will generally be modest, with typically 5-20cm above 1500m across the northern half of the Alps, and somewhere between a dusting and 10cm across the southern Alps (i.e the Italian Alps). Although this represents a bit of downgrade from the forecasts of a day or two ago, it will still be welcome given the lack of snow in recent days, and even weeks in some areas.

 

High pressure will reassert itself next week, meaning lots of fine and sunny weather again, especially at altitude. 

Updated: 10.15am Wednesday 15 January 2020 - Slight upgrade to weekend storm!

 

After a mostly dry and relatively mild week, we are still on course for some colder and snowier weather at the end of the week and over the weekend. What’s more, this snow may now be a little heavier and more widespread than originally anticipated.

Bettmeralp, Switzerland – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 15 January 2020 Another lovely day in the southern Swiss Alps – 15 January 2020 – Photo: bettmeralp.ch

Before we see this return to winter, we will have two to three days of mostly fine and quite mild weather, with a mixture of sunny spells but also some areas of high cloud drifting around. Freezing levels today will be close to 3000m on the northern side of the Alps, where a moderate Foehn will also be blowing.

 

After a similar day on Thursday, the cold front will approach from the west on Friday, bringing some snow later in the day in the western Alps. The rain-snow limit will initially sit between 1300m and 1500m, before dropping to under 1000m on Friday night. The snow will then reach the eastern Alps on Saturday, before it clears away from the east on Sunday, by which time any flurries will be falling to very low levels.

 

The northern half of the Alps are set to see the most snow from this storm (typically 20-40cm above 1500m, with a bit more in places) but the southern Alps should also see some snow, thanks to a secondary area of low pressure forming in the Mediterranean.

 

In short, just about everywhere should have seen some snow by Sunday, before next week then sees a return to mostly fine weather in the Alps.