Colder weather is postponed

The first winter month in Europe will be just another one in recent years with above-average temperature. While it has been dynamic over the North Atlantic and western Europe lately, a similar pattern will likely continue for at least another week. Unusually warm weather for east-central and southern Europe is expected. We have to bear with a few very mild, windy days. Don't be surprised to see temperatures close to  20C in the Alps. Temperatures are more reminiscent of spring than a Christmas holiday.

A southerly flow is currently dominating the weather in the Alps and will continue to do so until the end of the week. This means lots of cloud with some rain or snow in the southern Alps, especially in the central-southern and south-western Alps. The northern Alps will face drier and brighter but Föhny conditions. The temperature in Austria is about 10 degrees higher than in Italy, at the same altitude. The strongest Föhn therefore highest temperatures are likely to be further west in Switzerland, places like Chur, Luzerne and Zürich will probably see temperatures well above 15 degrees, further east the Föhn is likely to be less intense therefore temperatures below 10 degrees in mountain valleys.

The snowfall line fluctuates somewhere around 1900 to 2000 meters. For the Swiss south side, this produces on average between 20 and 40 cm of snow. The center of gravity of the snowfall is between Brig and Sankt Moritz. The French Alps and Aosta may also welcome a few centimeters. But clearly less than in Switzerland. The eastern Dolomites towards the Julian Alps are good for 10 to 20 cm. The lower-lying areas below an average of 2000 meters therefore have to process some rain. The Austrian north side will probably keep it dry.

Over the next couple of days, the weather will stay mostly dry and very mild, with gusty Foehn winds across most of Austria, much of Switzerland (away from the far south) and in the northern French Alps. The central and western Italian Alps may, however, see further showers from time to time with snow above 1900m. These showers will also spill over into the south of Switzerland at times, as well as into France.

Temperature Alps

At the end of the week, it looks likely that a cold front will bring colder weather. With a wind turning to the west, colder polar air flows into the Alps from the west.

On Fridaysnow is returning. A classical Genua depression is developing and will cause a lot of snow on the entire southern side of the Alps, this time also in the Dolomites and southern Austria. Again mainly higher, the valleys will also have to deal with rain. The snowfall limit drops on the front face towards the 1400 meters. In Austria and the Bavarian Alps probably even to a 1000 meter border. It is not yet possible to say exactly how much snow this will produce. The trend is luckily colder this weekend.

For the long term we can see the warmth is extending further towards the end of December.
Written by skiweather on Monday December 16, 2019

Categories: snowreport, skiweather - Tags: alps, warm

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