Latest snow forecast
Updated: 8.20pm Tuesday 2 January 2018
Brace yourselves! It’s going to get very stormy again in the Alps over the next couple of days with high winds, heavy snow and heavy rain all in the mix again.
Once again the worst of the weather will be in the western Alps, with 1-1.5m snow forecast above 2300m across the French Alps (excluding the far south), parts of Switzerland, the far north-west of Italy and perhaps even some parts of western Austria.
Resorts which could see 1.5m of snow at altitude by the end of Thursday include Val d’Isère, Tignes, La Rosière, Chamonix, Courmayeur and Zermatt. We stress ‘at altitude’ because there will also be a lot of rain lower down, first on Wednesday morning then, after a brief colder period, again on Thursday.
Unfortunately this rain will last longer than the rain we saw on Saturday, which means a fairly major deterioration in snow conditions below 2000m or so. It doesn’t mean that the snow will disappear completely - far from it! There is an excellent and durable base in just about all major resorts. However, it will make for some very unpleasant skiing conditions for a while.
Needless to say you should forget any off-piste for the time being and be prepared for disruption if you are driving in the Alps, not just from snow but also from flooding and the risk of landslides.
Over the next 48 hours, the eastern Austrian Alps as well as much of Italy (away from the north-west) will see less significant precipitation totals but it will still be windy, and often cloudy with showers at times.
Detailed weather & snow forecast:
On Tuesday night, showers will increase across the western and northern Austrian Alps while the far south remains mostly dry. The rain/snow limit will start quite low but rise towards 1500-1800m in the far west later.
Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with further showers or longer periods of precipitation. The rain/snow limit will reach 2000m in the west in the morning but will remain much lower in the more enclosed valleys of the central and eastern Austrian Alps. Later in the day it will again fall towards 1000m in the north and west. The far south of Austria will stay mostly dry until later in the day.
Thursday will again see lots of precipitation for the northern and western Austrian Alps in particular while some parts of the far south stay completely dry. The rain/snow limit will start quite low but will quickly rise again to around 1500-1700m.
Tuesday night will see rain and snow setting in across most parts of the French Alps, though the far south may stay dry. The rain/snow limit will start at around 1000m but will rise to 1800m or higher later in the night. The far south may see little or no precipitation.
Wednesday will start wet with snow above 2000m but rain below. There may be a drier spell during the middle part of the day but the weather will close in again later with further heavy precipitation. The rain/snow limit will descend again to reach 1000-1300m by evening. The far south may again see little or no precipitation.
Thursday will be very wet and increasingly mild again with the rain/snow limit rising to between 2000m and 2300m. The far south may again see little or no precipitation.
Tuesday night will see some precipitation in the north-west of Italy (e.g. Courmayeur, Cervinia) especially later in the night with a rain/snow limit starting low but rising to 1600m later. Except for a few showers close to the French and Swiss border regions most other regions will stay dry.
Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with showers or longer spells of rain/snow, often light and patchy but heavier close to the Swiss and French border regions, especially in the Aosta valley. By contrast, the far south-west (e.g. Limone) should remain sunny. The rain-snow limit will be highly variable, reaching 1800m or more in the west early in the day, but generally a bit lower further east and lower everywhere later in the day.
It will remain unsettled on Thursday with further showers in places, again heaviest in the far north-west. The rain/snow limit will be close to 2000m in the west but considerably lower further east.
Tuesday night will see rain and snow moving in to the Swiss Alps from the west. The rain/snow limit will start quite low, especially in the enclosed valleys, but will rise towards 1800m or higher in exposed parts of the west later.
Wednesday will see rain and snow, heaviest in the north and west with the rain/snow limit around 1800-2000m in the morning, lowering towards 1200m later in the day. In the enclosed valleys of the eastern Alps the rain/snow limit will be a bit lower, at around 1500m, and lower still in the south though any precipitation here will be patchier.
Thursday will again be very wet with the rain/snow limit rising to above 2000m in many parts, though lower in some enclosed valleys of the central and southern Swiss Alps.
The weather will remain unsettled as me move towards the weekend, but with the heaviest snow transferring to the southern Alps. The northern Alps, by contrast, should become mostly dry.
Our next detailed snow forecast will be on Friday 5 January 2018, but see Today in the Alps for daily updates