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[Blog] Alps Weather Forecast 3 January 2015


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Current Situation

Heavy snow throughout the Alps last weekend transformed the Alps, with over 50cm of fresh snow widely and over a 1m in places. Things have turned slightly milder in recent days, so not quite as good as last weekend, but overall still a massive improvement.

Synoptic Situation

The current pattern is a mobile generally westerly flow across the Atlantic, with a prominent Azores High (AZH). Currently the AZH has ridged further east across mainland NW Europe , with High Pressure as such over the Alps, a mild westerly flow over the western half of the Alps, and the colder air remaining in situ longer for Eastern Austria (850HPa sub zero here)

Sunday sees the High Pressure toppling a little over NW Europe and this bringing in Colder NE winds cover the Alps for a time (850 HPa air sub -5c for much of the North and East of the Alps but still with largely High Pressure (1036mb).

An east west split for the Alps starting Monday, with milder air trying to edge from the South West , but staying much colder for Austria especially with Northerly winds.

By midweek, a weak area of High Pressure remains over the Alps, with 850HPa around freezing, and with the coldest air now well away to the East.

Towards the weekend signs of the winds from west for the Alps becoming established, with alternative Polar and Tropical maritime airflow, so wildly varying temperatures.


A front is pushing South Eastwards across the Alps during Saturday, with heavy precipitation over the Alps during the evening, this set to continue into Sunday morning before fading somewhat during Sunday daytime. Heaviest precipitation through a swathe from the French Alps, through much of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, SE Germany and Western and Central Austria.

Snow Levels 6pm Saturday – France + Switzerland + West Austria and S Germany 2200-2400m, E Austria 800-1600m

Snow Levels midnight – France + Switzerland + West Austria and SW Germany 1800-2000m, E Austria + SE Germany 800-1400m

Snow Levels 6am Sunday– Germany 600-800m, Austria , most of Switzerland 1000-1400m, Far S Switzerland, French Alps 1600-1800m

A little more precipitation for Austria during Sunday.

Largely dry through the week due to High Pressure,

With some weak precipitation edging in from the North West on Friday.

Freezing Levels (Based on 6Hz GFS run - Sat 3 Jan)

Sat – 900m-1200m Eastern Austria rising quickly to 1800-2100m Western Austria, 2400m-2700m for France and Switzerland

Sun – 400m-600m North Eastern Austria, 900-1200m most of Austria, S Germany, N Switzerland. 1200-1800m S Switzerland and French Alps, Northern Italy

Mon – 400m-600m North Eastern Austria, 1200m-1400m Western Austria, 1500-2000m E Switzerland, 2100m-2400m for France and W Switzerland

Tue – 0m-200m North Eastern Austria, 1800m-2200m Western Austria, 2100-2400m SE Switzerland, 2400m-2700m for France and NW Switzerland

Wed + Thu – 0m-200m North Eastern Austria, 1400-1800m rest of Alps

Fri– 800-1000m Germany, N Austria, NW Switzerland, French Alps, 1000-1400m Central Austria and Switzerland, 1400-1600m S Switzerland and SE Austria and Italy

Overnight temps are quite low, so freeze thaw conditions even in the mildest spots.


Very much a change over the Alps, with an east west split, with milder weather retuning at times and becoming drier again after this weekend. The exception being Eastern Austria where it will always stay much colder than the rest of the Alps.

In terms of skiing conditions, best on higher slopes as ever, but also over Eastern areas, with fresh snow, and less thawing of lying snow.

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