Snow has been falling off and on for the last several days. Anywhere from 15 to as much as 25 cms have fallen in the Alps the last five days, with the greatest amounts in the French Alps. The biggest storm in this series will get started on Monday evening, where over 90 cms could fall near the Italy/Austria/Slovenia border.
Short Term Forecast
A strong and wet storm will impact the Alps and Pyrenees this week, with impressive snow totals over 70-90 cms at upper elevations. There is plenty of moisture and cold air, so snow levels should be around 1200m and remain below the base elevations of most resorts. Beyond this big dump, a small storm will bring additional snow during the later part of the week.
Forecast for Monday 11/21 - Tuesday 11/22
A strong upper level low pressure system will move through Europe from Monday night through Wednesday this week. This storm has all the ingredients for a significant snow event; ample moisture, cold temperatures, and strong lift. In order for any precipitation to fall, we need some atmospheric mechanisms to create rising motion. When moist air rises, it cools, and then condenses into clouds. Once that happens enough, rain and snow falls out of the clouds. This storm is getting lift from two different places; from the strength of the storm itself, and from Southerly winds pushing up against the mountains. This is with the southern side of the Alps, near the Italy/Austria/Slovenia border will see the most snow from this storm. As the storm moves east, the winds will shift to the north, and allow for the northern side of the Austrian helps to get some additional snow too.
Alright, enough of that technical stuff, hopefully a few of the readers appreciated that. First, here is a look at temperatures across the region for Tuesday. You can see things are colder than normal, and plenty cold for good density snow.
Now, onto snow totals. First, let's look at the three day storm total from this event. The deepest amounts are highlighted in the bold black circle in the southeastern Alps.
During the early part of the storm, when the winds are out of the south, the southern side of the Alps will do best, as seen in the images below. First, you can see the wind direction coming from the south.
As a result of these winds, the snow will be more focused to the southern aide of the range.
On Tuesday night, the winds begin to shift, as shown below.
This shift will cause the northern side of the eastern Alps to receive more heavy snow, as seen below.
Potential accumulations by elevation are below:
- > 2500m: 70-90 cms
- 2000-2500m: 50-70 cms
- 1500-2000m: 40-60 cms
- <1500m: 30-50 cms
These are some impressive totals! Remember these are the totals for the bold circle in the first snow map above. As you move farther north and west in the alps, totals will be considerably less. The northern side of the eastern Alps will likely top out around 60 cms, with lesser totals at lower elevations. The western side of the Alps should get a good dump too, with around 45 cms at the upper elevations.
Forecast for Wednesday 11/23 - Thursday 11/24
The next storm comes in right on the heels of the last one. The flakes should start flying again by midday Wednesday. Some warmer air will have moved in after the last storm, so snow levels will be a bit higher this time. This is also a much smaller storm, with totals in the 15-25 cm range at the higher elevations, and less below. Check out the snow map below.
Outlook for Friday 11/25 - Tuesday 11/29
Chances for light snow will remain through the weekend of the 25th, with minor accumulations. By the early part of the following week, things start to dry out a bit. A ridge will move in overhead and likely keep things dry through the first few days of December.
Thanks again for reading the forecast. This major storm will really help the mountains in this region. Follow me @lstone84 on Instagram to track and chase storms all Winter long!