Large parts of Europe are under the influence of a massive high-pressure area which keeps any disturbance at bay. The Atlantic is completely cut off from the Alps. Mild air is transported towards the Alps with a southwestern current which means that sunny and mild Kaiserwetter prevails all over the Alps. The freezing level fluctuates around 2900 meters in the western Alps and around 1500 meters in the far east of the Alps during the day. There will be very few changes in the weather, at least until January 2nd.
During the weekend a moderate disturbance in the northern Alpine region causes more clouds. It also means some snow for Austria. This time, the snowfall is concentrated in the eastern part of Tirol, Salzburgerland and Steiermark. According to the latest ECMWF calculation, eastern Switzerland and western tip if Austria remains dry. It looks like there could be several bursts of precipitation for the northern Alps (particularly in Austria) in the Sun - Fri timeframe. Altogether by New Year's Day we expect between 10 and 30cm of fresh snow. By Thursday the 3th the accumulated snow fall amounts are twice as much in ski resorts at higher elevation east of Innsbruck. .
Around January 3th, colder air is entering the Alps from the north. The EC Monthly report shows a trough pushing over the Northern Alps, from West to East, with potentially heavy snowfalls on the 3rd and 4th. Perhaps the northern French Alps also get some of this. On the 5th moderate snowfall is brought to the North by a smaller trough associated with the low behind it . There is still a lot of uncertainty about this situation at the start of 2019. The GFS for January 8th shows a front coming from the North, into the Northern Alps with heavy snowfall in the back.
Snow conditions in the Alps are generally very mixed right now, especially in the northern and north-western Alps where there was lots of rain at low and mid-altitude (up-to 2200m) last weekend. Across eastern Switzerland and Austria the rain turned to snow long before the storm was over right down to 1200m. For sure, the north-eastern side of the Alps is in much better condition than the north-west right now.
In the Northern French Alps high altitude resorts above 1800 m are faring much better for snow cover than lower lying ones. We’ve been finding some very nice quality snow above 2400m.
It is already a fact that the west and south of the Alps will not see any fresh snow until the start 2019. January 11th is the date to watch for these regions: a low starts late in the 11th of Jan, coming in from the Southern Alps with moderate-heavy snowfall, dragging along the Southern region until the 14th, easing over the 14th. The most recent run shows it more like rainfall at lower mountain regions. Just hours after the last one left, another system comes from the North and brings moderate-heavy snowfall across much of the Alps. The snowfall starts to send the snowfall on the South and the East on the 17th, and ease.
Alta Badia bathes in sunshine
Happy new year everyone!