An active front reached the Alps late Wednesday night and brought significant amounts of fresh snow, but also some rain to many regions on Thursday, heaviest in the west. It has not been notably cold again though, meaning that snow depths are much more modest lower down.
The Alpine weather remains unstable and downright moody. Disturbances meander over the Alps as the region is enclosed in mild and cold air.
Saturday will see further flurries to low levels across the northern fringes of the Alps, especially in Switzerland and Austria. In the rest of the Alpine region the weather is friendly and fairly sunny. On Sunday, the entire Alpine region benefits on the back of a high air pressure which brings lots of sun. Clouds will thicken in the north-west again later in the day as a new storm approaches, forecast to arrive overnight/on Monday. Monday the situation is getting worse with a disturbance from the west. Clouds, wind and snow showers determine the weather.
The temperatures rises sharply around Tuesday. This causes the snowfall limit to rise to around 2200 meters. For Tuesday and Wednesday, this means an increasing chance of some rain for the west and north. This situation, rain at higher altitude, is very common in March. More so, the last few years. Thursday seem to be getting mild too.
At the end of the week colder air is returning again and a new storm cycle is on the charts. On Thursday night there is significant episode of polar air for the Alps. Once again, the influx is accompanied by heavy snowfall, and on an extensive scale.
Generally speaking, the higher resorts of the French Alps are in the most impressive shape right now. Great skiing is not confined to France, however, with impressive snow depths at altitude right across Switzerland, Austria and Italy too. The only weaknesses are still some of the lower resorts close to the north-western fringes of the Alps, such as Morzine, Gstaad and Grindelwald. These resorts have all seen new snow this week though, and can still offer some excellent skiing, but are likely to become more vulnerable if any spring-like weather decides to set in.
After a mostly fine and very mild weekend with record-breaking temperatures in some areas, the weather will turn more unsettled again next week with the increasing prospect of significant snow, especially towards the middle of next week. Monday the northeast of the Alps has a chance of a light rain or snow shower. The west and south remain dry and fairly sunny. Tuesday will be a transition day with a chance of some rain and snow from the west. On Tuesday night, cold polar air enters the Alps. We will go from spring to winter in less than 24 hours with a sharp drop in temperatures. This is accompanied by substantial snowfall in the West. The first snowfall will occur above 1300 m Tuesday afternoon then it will decrease to around 800 to 1000 m in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. On Wednesday, we expect snowfall faround 700 m in the morning, then the snow limit should drop during the day, with a possible risk of snow into the valleys and plains in the afternoon and evening. According to the latest forecast models, this snowfall could give between 10 and 15 cm of snow from 700m Wednesday, 15 to 20 cm at 1000 m and 20 to 25 cm at 1500 m,
On Thursday, a new disturbance -a warm front- is expected above the Alps with the heaviest precipitation again due in the north-west. Snow falls at low altitude at first, increasing towards 1200 to 1500m in the night towards Friday. This snowfall could give 10 to 15 cm of additional snow above 1000 m and 15 to 20 cm above 1500m.
The French Alps in particular welcomes the largest amount of fresh snow. Here you may easily expect half a meter with peaks up to 70 cm until Thursday (e.g. La plagne, Les Deux Alpes). The Swiss and Austrian north and inner Alpines will see 20 to 35 cm. The snowfall boundary dives towards 500 meter.
The south side of the Alps may see some fresh sbow in the middle of the week. During the cold front, a small low-pressure area develops above northern Italy. This triggers a temporary east to southeast flow. As a result, it may also snow locally on the south side!
Later in the week the snow is not over yet. Disruptions are generally good for the Alps. Snow conditions will improve considerably.
Snow conditions in the Alps remain a bit mixed, generally with plenty of snow at altitude but much patchier cover low down. In the lower resorts of the Alps, especially in the north-west (e.g. Morzine, Megève, Gstaad and Adelboden), much more snow is needed, but they may get it later next week!