The weather in the Alps is currently calm with fairly high temperatures, but that is about to change. On Thursday the wind will turn north to northwest, making it considerably colder. It will snow especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Extremely mild
Little spectacular happens until Christmas. It remains calm, very mild and largely dry. Most of the rainfall is likely to pass just north of the Alps. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the wind originates from the southwest, making it mild in the Alps. It only freezes above 2000 meters and in the valleys the temperatures reach 4-8 degrees. The freezing level can reach a value of 3000 meters. Fortunately, this mild phase will be limited to Wednesday, as the next storm from the northwest is approaching on Wednesday afternoon and this will result in a sharp drop in temperature.

Fresh snow during Christmas
On Thursday a north-westerly current is in place and the chance of precipitation on the north side of the Alps will increase. The snowfall concentrates on the northwestern and northern Stau slopes. Initially it falls below 2000 meters in the form of rain, in the course of the morning the snow line will drop to about 1300 meters. The first snow fall is therefore limited to around 10cm at best. Thursday afternoon, the intensity of the snowfall temporarily diminishes and it can become dry in many places. A second front soon follows with more precipitation and another batch of cold air. Another 20 to 40 centimeters of snow can fall locally in the French Northern Alps Switzerland, and Vorarlberg.

snow forecast until Christmas day

On Christmas Eve the snow line drops below 1000 meters. Most of the snow fall in eastern Switzerland and Tyrol. On Christmas Day it is clearly colder than previous days with a freezing level below 500 meters and at 2000 meters it freezes moderately in most places. Partly because of this, a lot of snow falls on the north and northwest side of the Alps into the valleys. In total, more than 25 centimeters falls in many places and 45 to 60 centimeters is possible locally, e.g. in Ski Arlberg, Tignes and Chamonix valley.

After a cold night with regionally severe frost, Boxing Day promises to be a beautiful winter day! It remains almost dry and the sun shines in many places. Since it is cold enough, the snow will remain.

After Christmas it will remain winter for the time being, but no large amounts of snow will fall at first. At the beginning of next week, the chances of snow will increase, especially on the south side of the Alps. In that case, the snow line will be higher than during Christmas.

A lot of fresh snow can be expected from Friday to Tuesday, especially along and south of the main Alpine ridge. Already in the early morning of Friday it starts to snow from Ticino to Engadin. During the day, the snowfall increases and spreads to the south of Austria.

On the southern side of the Alps, larger amounts of snow can then be expected within a short period of time. Especially in Ost Tirol, Karnten and Sud Tirol, amounts of fresh snow of well over 2 meters can come together in the valleys until Tuesday. At high altitudes, more than 3 meters of fresh snow is very well possible.

This extreme snowfall comes courtesy of an increasingly vigorous southerly current that will pick up plenty of moisture from the relatively warm Mediterranean before pushing up hard against the southern flanks of the Alps. By Sunday morning, resorts that could see between 1m and 1.5m of fresh snow at altitude include Passo Tonale, Arabba, Nassfeld, Obergurgl and Heiligenblut.

Most other parts of the Italian, French, Swiss and western Austrian Alps are also expected to see significant snow on Friday and/or Saturday, but there will be less snow in the north-east (e.g. Salzburgland).