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[Blog] Alps Weather Forecast 13 December 2014


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Background and Current Position

There have been a number of articles about the lack of snow in the Alps. As move in the middle of December, this is the time of year when many resorts open however the lack of snow at some resorts has meant this being delayed. What has helped though is some snowfall to low levels and some cold weather allowing those all important snow cannons to operate.

So in summary conditions are worse than normal, but we have seen worse years.

Synoptic Pattern

So on this basis, we would like to see the better conditions of recent day set to continue.

Looking at today's weather pattern, there is low pressure over Iceland, with cold North westerly winds over North western Europe. The Azores High covers the Southern Atlantic, there is also a small low pressure system over Portugal and this is feeding up mild South Westerly winds over the Alps, with 850HPa temps around 5c for Northern Alps, cooler further south.

By the start of next week, the flow from Portugal gets cut off and the mild air gets mixed out a bit, and with no dominant weather pattern and a weak westerly veering North Westerly flow, 850Hpa temps gradually drop closer to zero.

By the mid part of next week, the Azores High slowly start edging east and on its northern flank, it brings some mild Tropical Maritime air mass for NW Europe and The Alps, so upper temps rising up back above 5c at 850HPa. This is associated with a warm front, so some moderate precipitation seems likely.

Alps Freezing Levels

Sat – 1600m-2000m Southern Switzerland, SW Austria and Northern Italy, 2200m-2400m elsewhere.

Sun – 1800m-2000m Southern Switzerland, SW Austria and Northern Italy, 2000m-2200m elsewhere.

Mon – 1800m-2000m France, Switerlnad and SW Germany, 2000m-2200m Austria, SE Germany, Italy

Tue – 1000m-1600m S Germany, French Alps, N Switzerland, N Austria. 1600-2000m elsewhere

Wed– 1600m-2000m E Austria, 1800-2400m elsewhere, rising as you go further west

Thu– 2200-2600m Central Alps, 2600-3000m Far Southern Switzerland and Italy

Fri– 2600m S Germany and N Austria rising steadily moving south to 3200m over Northern Italy

Some cold nights to start the week mean ample opportunity for the use of snow cannons.


Mostly dry this weekend, but some patchy precipitation fringing the NW of the Alps Saturday evening into Sunday with snow above 1600m or so.

This is set to become a little more organized Sunday into Monday for Northern and Western parts of the Alps Sunday into Monday, with snow above 1600m or so.

This moving into more Central areas overnight and into Tuesday and becoming concentrated in Austria later on Tuesday with snow above 1200m (N) -1600m (S) or so.

On Wednesday, a frontal system is set to move in the North west, bringing some heavy persistent precipitation this is set to last through Wednesday and for much of Thursday. the heaviest precipitation likely for Northern Switzerland and NW Austria a lesser extent for S Germany, France and other parts of Switzerland and to a lesser extent for S Switzerland. Snow level around 2200-2400m .

The GFS goes for some heavy precipitation this week for the Northern half of the Alps, most of this is forecast from Wednesday to Friday, with over 2 inches of precipitation expected.

As can be seen by the precipitation up to Wednesday. which is much drier.


Mostly Mild this week, and with moderate precipitation at time, however most of the snow reserved for higher resorts. However the heavy precipitation event expected for midweek needs further monitoring, as with a lower freezing level this would transform the Alps leading into Christmas.

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