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Colder weather and snow for the Swiss and Austria Alps

The weather in the Alps has been spring-like this week: very mild and with plenty of sunshine. It was a glorious week with deep-blue skies. The nights were quite cold due to the absence of a substantial cloud cover. With freeze-thaw conditions the snow quality is very mixed and poor on the lower slopes. The lower valleys are turning green again after the high temperatures of the past one-and-a-half week. However, the spring conditions won't last very long. A big weather change is heading to the Alps this weekend as warm spring sunshine gives way to rather turbulent conditions with significant precipitation expected.

Blue skies in Brandnertal
Brandnertal on Friday morning

Precipitation is anticipated over widespread areas, most of all between Saturday morning and Sunday morning The heaviest precipitation will be on Saturday, from the central Swiss Alps eastwards into Austria. The central axis is between Sankt Moritz via Davos to the Arlberg and from the Jungfrau area to the Arlberg. These regions will see between 10cm and 35cm of fresh snow above 1800m, locally a little bit more. The Arlberg region may welcome over 45cm at altitude. Obertauern and 4-Berge SkiSchaukel are expecting 35cm. Solden 30cm. Zermatt around 20cm. Have a look at the latest snow forecasts.

At the start of the weekend the rain/snow limit will reside around 2000m, but later on Saturday it will descent to around 1400-1600m in the northwestern Alps, and to 1200-1500m in Austria. That means rain and sleet for the valleys and the lower slopes. The snow conditions below 1700m will therefore deteriorate further.

As a result of the strong to storm-strength westerly to northwesterly winds, the new fallen snow will be intensively transported. The danger of dry-snow avalanches will increase over widespread areas starting Saturday morning, significantly so in the major areas of precipitation.

Adelboden
Conditions in Adelboden are still very good

By contrast, the extreme western Swiss Alps, as well as the northern French Alps will see little more than a dusting at altitude. Most of the Italian and southern French Alps will miss out on the precipitation altogether. In the furthermost southern regions it will be quite sunny during the weekend, accompanied by strong to storm-strengeh northwesterly winds.

More sunshine is expect on Monday and Tuesday, and then there’s a chance of a more prolonged spell of cooler weather with the chance of more snow. It will remain relatively cold until Friday.

Written by skiweather on Friday March 17, 2017
Permalink - Category: skiweather - Tags: swiss, austrian, snow
  • Created: Fri 17 Mar 2017 08:15:01 CET
  • Last changed: March 18, 2017 10:32:40 am CET

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