Today in the Alps - November 2019
Updated: 9.45am Friday 22 November 2019 - New “southern-westerly” storm underway…
As expected, a new storm is currently affecting the Alps, bringing significant snow to the south-west over the next couple of days, especially on Saturday.
Areas affected by this storm include parts of the southern French Alps closest to the Italian border (e.g. Isola 2000, Queyras), the Italian Piedmont (e.g. Prato Nevoso, Sestriere, Alagna), parts of the Aosta region (e.g. Cervinia, Pila, Champoluc) and parts of the far south of Switzerland (e.g. Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Bosco Gurin).
These areas could see between 30cm and 80cm of new snow at altitude by Sunday morning, with over 1m in places, but with most of it falling tomorrow rather than today. The rain-snow limit will vary, but will typically sit between 1200m and 1800m, sometimes a bit lower under the most intense areas of precipitation.
By contrast, with one or two exceptions (e.g. Val d’Isère, Val Cenis), the northern half of the Alps will be mostly dry over the next couple of days, if rather cloudy at times. There will also be an increasingly strong Foehn wind (peaking on Saturday) which will melt much of the lowest lying snow.
If you are planning on skiing in the Alps over the weekend, Saturday will not be a great day due to high winds and, to the south of the main alpine ridge (especially in the south-west), bad visibility and precipitation.
The weather will quickly improve on Sunday, but it may take some of potentially best ski areas (e.g. Cervinia, Saas-Fee) a while to open due to all the new snow. Monday looks like a better (if not perfect) weather day for most of the Alps.
Updated: 12pm Thursday 21 November 2019 - New storm for the south-western Alps…
The next storm is approaching the south-western Alps and will deliver significant snow here over the next few days, notably on Friday and Saturday.
The first effects of this storm are already being felt today, with cloud and a few showers (snow 1100-1500m) streaming into the southern French and western Italian Alps. The further north and east you are, the better chance there is of some sunshine, at altitude at least.
On Friday and particularly on Saturday, the precipitation will intensify in the southern French Alps, especially close the border (e.g. Isola 2000), and in the western Italian Alps (e.g. Sestriere, Pila, Cervinia, Monte Rosa), also spilling over into parts of the northern French Alps (e.g. Val Cenis, Val d’Isère) and the southern Swiss Alps (e.g. Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Bosco-Gurin). By the time the storm clears on Sunday, these areas could see 30-70cm of new snow above 1800m, with close to 1 metre in places.
The south-eastern Alps (e.g. Dolomites) will also see lots of cloud over the next few days, but much less in the way of new snow this time around, while the northern Alps will see Foehn conditions - not good news, as it will melt a lot of low-lying snow.
Updated: 12pm Wednesday 20 November 2019 - New storm approaching southern Alps but…
The weather in the Alps has temporarily quietened down, even if there are still some showers in the eastern Italian and southern Austrian Alps (snow 1500-1900m) today. This relative lull won’t last long though, with a new storm set to deliver further heavy snow to parts of the southern Alps later in the week and over the weekend, especially in the south-west.
As the new storm approaches, the southerly airflow ahead of it will create a Foehn wind across the northern half of the Alps - starting tomorrow and peaking on Saturday - which will melt much of the lowest lying snow on the northern side of the Alps.
The southern side of the Alps will see the snow piling up again, however, this time heaviest in the western Italian Alps and some adjacent border regions.
Resorts that should see significant new snow between Friday and Sunday include Monte Rosa, Saas-Fee, Zermatt, Cervinia, Pila, Sestriere, Isola 2000 and possibly even Val d’Isère/Tignes, where the rain/snow limit will generally sit between 1200m and 1500m, or a bit lower under some of the more intense precipitation.
By contrast, freezing levels on the northern side of the Alps will be well in excess of 2000m (maybe even as high as 2500m) by the weekend.
Updated: 10am Tuesday 19 November 2019 - Yet more snow in the south!
Yet more snow has fallen across some southern parts of the Alps in the last 24 hours, this time heaviest in the far south-west, where ski resorts such as Isola 2000, Prato Nevoso and Limone have seen another 40-50cm!
Most other Italian ski resorts have also seen some new snow, albeit in more modest quantities this time around, as have some parts of central-southern and south-eastern Switzerland (e.g. St Moritz) and the far south of Austria (e.g. Nassfeld).
Today there will be further snow at times (1200-1700m) across many central-southern and south-eastern parts of the Alps – i.e. the Italian Alps roughly to the east of the Monte Rosa region, some areas in southern and south-eastern Switzerland (e.g. Engadin), the Austrian Osttirol and Carinthia, especially close to the border.
After a slight reprieve mid-week, a new storm will deliver further snow to the southern Alps towards the end of the week, this time heaviest in the western Italian Alps (e.g. Cervinia, Sestriere) as well as some adjacent border areas of both France (e.g. Val Cenis, Isola 2000) and Switzerland (e.g. Zermatt, Saa-Fee). By contrast, the northern Alps will see the Foehn blowing at times which will melt much of their lower-lying snow.
Needless to say, snow depths are currently exceptional across most of the central and southern Alps. Resorts that doing particularly well at the moment (not all of which are yet open) include Isola 2000, Tignes, Cervinia, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Andermatt, St Moritz, Livigno, Sölden, Obergurgl, Passo Tonale and the entire Dolomite region.
However, we should also point out that the recent huge snowfalls have caused problems in some areas, with avalanches cutting off resorts and even entire communities, especially in the Sudtirol (Italy) and Osttirol (Austria).
The northern Alps generally still have less snow but with some exceptions. For more detail read our snow report updated later today…
Updated: 11am Monday 18 November 2019 - Exceptional snow depths for many southern parts of the Alps…
Yet more heavy snow fell across the southern Alps over the weekend, where snow depths are now exceptional for mid-November in many areas.
Right now, there is deep snow in:
- the southern French Alps (e.g. Isola 2000, Risoul);
- the Italian Alps, especially from Cervinia eastwards - including the Monte Rosa region, Lombardy (e.g. Livigno) and the Dolomites (e.g Madonna di Campiglio, Sella Ronda);
- the southern Swiss Alps, roughly from Zermatt eastwards - including Saas-Fee, Andermatt and St Moritz; and
- the southern Austrian Alps - including most of Osttirol and Carinthia (e.g. Nassfeld) but also the southern Tirol (e.g. Obergurgl).
All of these areas have between 1.2m and 2.5 m of settled snow at high altitude, with up to 3m reported in some places (e.g. close to Sulden in the Sudtirol).
Snow depths are generally still quite modest across the northern Alps - in areas such as Chamonix, the Portes du Soleil, the Bernese Oberland, the Arlberg and resorts of the northern Tirol and northern Salzburgland (e.g Zell am See) – but it should be stressed that there is nothing at all unusual about this, as it is only mid-November.
There are some exceptions in the north, such as the Tignes/Val d’Isère area which (thanks to snow spilling across the nearby Italian border) has well over 1m of snow at high altitude.
As for the forecast this week, there is going to be a bit more snow, again mostly across the southern Alps, especially later today and tomorrow. The northern Alps will generally stay dry with the Foehn blowing at times, however, meaning that most of any low-lying snow will melt by the end of the week.
Updated: 9.30am Friday 15 November 2019 - Another big dump for the southern Alps!
As expected, in the last 24 hours a huge amount of snow has fallen again across the southern Alps, also spilling a little bit further north in places too.
Areas that have benefited most this time around are:
- the whole of the southern French Alps (e.g. Risoul, Isola 2000) but also Val d’Isère/Tignes, Val Cenis and Bonneval-sur-Arc a bit further north;
- most of the Italian Alps, but especially the central-western Italian Alps (e.g. Monte Rosa); and
- the central and southern Swiss Alps (e.g. Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Aletsch Arena, Andermatt).
Roughly 30-70cm of new snow has fallen in these regions in the last 24 hours, with over 1m in places in the high border regions to the east of Zermatt/Saas-Fee.
Today the heaviest of the snow has spread a little further east to the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Livigno, Dolomites), the south-eastern Swiss Alps (e.g St Moritz) and the Austrian Alps, especially in the south (e.g. Nassfeld), all of which already saw a lot of snow earlier this week.
This latest storm has also produced some snow across the northern Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Bernese Oberland) but generally in much more modest quantities than further south.
Over the weekend another less potent storm will hit the southern Alps, then next week it looks like the weather will turn mild but remain unsettled, with further heavy snow possible at times across the southern Alps. By contrast, a Foehn wind is likely to develop in the northern Alps, which means that some of their lower-lying snow will start to melt later in the week.
As for where this leaves us in terms of snow conditions in the Alps, check out our latest detailed snow report out later today…
Updated: 9am Thursday 14 November 2019 - Yet more heavy snow for the southern Alps…
A huge amount of snow has fallen across some southern and eastern Alps since we last reported on Tuesday, with close to 1m in some of the higher resorts of the central and southern Austrian Alps (e.g. Stubai), and the Dolomites (e.g. Marmolada).
Today another weather front is approaching the Alps from the west, as a new storm is forming in the Gulf of Genoa which will deliver more heavy snow to the southern Alps later today and tomorrow.
This will firstly affect the western/north-western Italian Alps and some adjacent areas in France (e.g Bonneval sur Arc, Isola 2000) and Switzerland (e.g. Saas-Fee), before the north-eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Dolomites) and some adjacent areas in Austria (e.g. Obergurgl, Nassfeld) get in on the action again tomorrow.
The extreme western Alps (e.g. the Vercors, Chartreuse, also the western Jura) will also see heavy snow today, but the northern Alps (e.g. Chamonix and the Bernese Oberland through to the northern Tirol and Salzburgland) will generally miss out.
Overall, we can say that this is a very promising start to the season for the Alps, although it is only mid-November and certainly not everywhere has deep snow yet.
The areas that are doing particularly well at this stage (especially at altitude) are the central, central southern, eastern and south-eastern Alps, including resorts such as Andermatt, St Moritz, Livigno, Obergurgl, Obertauern, Madonna di Campiglio and Arabba, to name just a few.
If we were to single out one country, it would now be Austria where a huge amount of snow has fallen in the more central and southern regions (e.g. Stubai, Hintertux, Obergurgl, Nassfeld). However, even the northern Austrian Alps (e.g. Kaprun) have also seen significant snow.
Although parts of the north-western Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Bernese Oberland) have missed out on the heaviest of the recent snow, there is still some snow here, especially higher up, just not as much as in most other parts of the Alps.
Some south-western Italian resorts (e.g. Sestriere) are also still looking for their first killer dump of the season.
Updated: 11am Tuesday 12 November 2019 - Remaining very unsettled across the Alps with the heaviest snow in the south…
The weather situation in the Alps is extremely complicated, with several storms set to hit the Alps over the coming days. What we can say for sure is that the southern Alps will see the most snow, with some extreme snowfalls in places.
Right now, the main driver of the weather in the Alps is a huge area of low pressure in the Mediterranean which is throwing weather fronts up northwards across its eastern flanks.
Over the last 24 hours, these fronts have produced further snow across the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Livigno, Madonna di Campiglio), the eastern swiss Alps (e.g. Davos, St Moritz) and much of Austria, especially in the south (e.g. Obergurgl, Nassfeld). By contrast, the north-western Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Chamonix) have seen little if any snow since yesterday morning.
Nothing will change much today, with drier conditions continuing in the north-west but further snow set to fall in the southern and eastern Alps, although there will be huge contrasts in the rain/snow limit - currently around 1700m in parts of the Dolomites and eastern Austrian Alps, but well under 1000m in the western Austrian Alps.
For the rest of the week the southern Alps will continue to receive further heavy precipitation. At first the emphasis will again be in the south-east (e.g. Lombardy, Trentino, Engadin, Ostirol, SudTirol, Veneto), but then a new storm will develop in the Gulf of Genoa which will allow the western Italian Alps (e.g. Sestriere, Monte Rosa) and some adjacent areas across the border in both France and Switzerland (e.g. Val d’Isere, Saas-Fee) to get in on the action.
Updated: 11am Monday 11 November 2019 - Remaining cool with further snow, mostly across the southern Alps…
The weather in the Alps will remain rather cold and unsettled this week with further snow in places, mostly across the southern Alps.
The Alps are today sandwiched between a weak cold front moving down from the north-west and a and a more potent storm system anchored in the Mediterranean. The former will bring a dusting of new snow to the north-western foothills of the Alps (e.g. La Clusaz) tonight. The latter, however, will bring a bit more significant snow to some southern parts of the Alps, notably the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Madesimo, Passo Tonale, Dolomites), with a rain/snow limit somewhere between 1000m and 1400m.
The weather in the alps will remain on the cold side for the rest of the week, with further snow at times across the southern Alps. Tomorrow the heaviest snow will fall in the Dolomites, with the south-western Alps (e.g. Piedmont) set to join in the action later in the week.
Although the northern Alps (e.g. Avoriaz, Engelberg, Lech) are unlikely to see any significant snow, it will still be cold, and many resorts have already fired up their snow cannons which will help to secure their base as the main season approaches.
There is already an encouraging amount of snow at altitude across most of the Alps. To find out more, check out our first main snow report of the season later today…
Updated: 9.30am Friday 8 November 2019 - Further snow in many parts of the Alps…
As expected, there has been further snow across many parts of the Alps over the last 24 hours. The heaviest snow has fallen in the southern and western Alps, while the north-eastern Alps (e.g. Salzburgland) have mostly missed out again.
This morning, it is still snowing across a good portion of the central and south-eastern Alps including most of Switzerland, the northern Piedmont (e.g. Alagna), Lombardy (e.g. Livigno), the Dolomites (e.g. Cortina) and the southern Austrian Alps (e.g. Nassfeld). By contrast, the snow has largely stopped in the western Alps.
Snowfall totals over the past 24 hours are typically in the region of 5-20cm above 1500m across a wide swathe of the French, Swiss, Italian and southern/western Austrian Alps, with more in places. However, some central-southern and south-eastern parts of the Alps (e.g. Andermatt, Livigno, St Moritz and the Dolomites) have already seen 30cm or more at altitude, with more snow set to fall here for much of today.
We can therefore expect storm totals in excess of 50cm in some favoured spots by the end of Friday, most likely in the central-southern Swiss Alps (e.g. Andermatt) and the eastern Dolomites (e.g. Cortina).
Over the weekend we will see a few further flurries here and there, heaviest in the far south-west (e.g. Isola 2000, Limone, Prato Nevoso) with most places expected to stay dry if rather cold. It will continue cold into next week too with the further chance of snow, notably from mid-week onwards and probably heaviest in the south-east (e.g. Dolomites).
Updated: 9.45am Thursday 7 November 2019 – The weather remains cool and changeable in the Alps…
The weather in the Alps will remain cool and changeable for the foreseeable future, with further snow forecast in some regions, heaviest in the south-eastern Alps (e.g. Dolomites) tomorrow.
Today we have a new storm approaching the Alps from the west. This will deliver some light to moderate falls of snow (typically 5-15cm above 1500m) across many parts of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps as the day goes on, with a rain/snow limit somewhere between 1000m and 1400m. The north-eastern Alps (e.g. Salzburgland) will again stay mostly dry.
Tomorrow we will see a significant intensification of snowfall across the central and eastern Alps (e.g. St Moritz, Obergurgl, Dolomites) where between 25-50cm of new snow is possible at altitude by Friday night.
After a relative lull in the weather on Saturday and first thing on Sunday, further snow will fall across some south-western parts of the Alps later in the weekend and on Monday, especially in areas close to the French/Italian border (from about Val d’Isère southwards). More widespread snow is then possible again in the Alps on Tuesday.
So, all in all the news is good as we draw nearer to the main winter season!
Updated: 11am Tuesday 5 November 2019 - Lots of snow at altitude...
As expected, lots of new snow has fallen across higher parts of the Alps over the last few days. The heaviest snow has fallen in the French Alps, where 30-60cm has been reported quite widely above 2500m, and well over 1m in some favoured spots such as in the Écrins region, just south of Les 2 Alpes.
Most other parts of the Alps have also seen some snow, though the north-east (e.g. Salzburgland) has generally seen less due to the Foehn. Today it is still snowing above 1600-2000m across some eastern parts of the Alps, notably southern Austria and the Dolomites. Further west, skies are brighter but further snow showers (1500m) are likely later in the day.
The weather will remain changeable and rather cool for the rest of the week, with the further chance of snow at times (and to relatively low levels), notably on Thursday/Friday, then again on Sunday/Monday.
So what does this all mean for the season ahead?
Well, still not much really as it is simply too early to guarantee that any warm spell won’t undo much of the early good work. That said, we are hopeful that a handful of high-altitude ski areas will now be able to hold on to their bases, especially in French resorts with plenty of skiing above 2400m (e.g. Tignes/Val d’Isère, Val Thorens and Les 2 Alpes).
With further top-ups likely, by this time next week these areas (and potentially others) should be more confident of a good start to the season.
Updated: 11.15am Monday 4 November 2019 - Turning increasingly wintry in the Alps…
As expected, many higher parts of the Alps saw some snow over the weekend, with the heaviest falls in the western Alps (France) and central Italian Alps (Lombardy, western Dolomites). The north-eastern Alps (e.g. Salzburgland) were protected by the Foehn and saw the least snow.
Today it is snowing again in many western and some southern parts of the Alps, with a rain/snow limit between 1600m and 2200m. Accumulations are now becoming significant above 2500m, with 40-50cm expected by tonight on the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes, and perhaps as much as 80cm on the glacier above Les 2 Alpes.
Tomorrow, the heaviest of the snow will move further east, with the southern Austrian and north-eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Dolomites) most likely to be favoured. The rest of the week will then remain unsettled and relatively cool, with further snow at times, mostly in the southern and western Alps.
The improving snow situation in the Alps is welcome news after a dry and very mild October. It still doesn’t mean very much in terms of how the main winter season will pan out, but it does mean that most of the glaciers will be in excellent shape.
There is also hope that something of a base will now be put down above 2500m or so in resorts such as Tignes/Val d’Isère, Val Thorens, Les 2 Alpes, Cervinia, Verbier, Zermatt and St Moritz, given that the weather is forecast to stay relatively cool over the coming days, with the possibility of further snow, especially later in the week and into next week when some bigger storms are possible. Watch this space…
Updated: 12pm Friday 1 November 2019 - Significant snow coming for some parts of the Alps…
The weather in the Alps is becoming interesting, with a protracted storm cycle set to bring significant snow to some areas over the coming days, especially in higher parts of the western Alps.
Over the next two to three days, the wind will predominately come from the west or south-west, creating a Foehn effect on the north-eastern side of the Alps. This will lead to very mild and mostly dry weather in the Austrian Alps (though still with a few showers here and there), but quite a lot of precipitation for the French Alps (e.g. Tignes, Les 2 Alpes), the western Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier) and western and central parts of the Italian Alps (e.g. Passo Tonale). The rain/snow limit will initially sit well above 2000m but will drop steadily next week.
More generally, there is still lots of uncertainty as to how the weather in the Alps will pan out next week, as it will depend on the exact position of the jet stream, which will be meandering very close to or over the Alps.
One thing that is for certain is that the weather will remain unsettled, with current models still favouring the western Alps in terms of snowfall. The western Alps will also see the coldest temperatures, with snow possible to 1500m (or even lower) at times. Stay tuned!