The UK may still be in the grip of an Arctic weather, but in the Alps the thaw has already started. Right across the region, temperatures are rising, thanks to moderate, westerly winds (and Foehn conditions in Austria). For the next few days we can expect unsettled weather, and a daytime freezing point that bobbles about between 1300 and 2500m, as the wind direction shifts around between south and northwest.
As you can see from our snow forecast (below) there was more snow earlier today across the western and southern Alps, which was heavy in places.
There’ll be another dose tonight in the same area, although this time, rising temperatures will briefly turn it to rain below 2000m. Thereafter, temperatures should drop back again and it will snow down to 900m tomorrow afternoon.
We can expect further weather fronts to move in from the south-west between now and Tuesday, with rain at lower altitudes and snow above 1500m. Currently, it looks as though the south-western resorts of France, as well as the Aosta Valley and central Italian Alps will see the heaviest snow.
All in all, it’ll be quite a change from the frigid conditions earlier this week. On Tuesday, John Yates Smith of YSE in Val d’Isere reported the morning temperature in the village was -22C. What’s more, the new snow at altitude will soften up the pistes nicely, as they’ve been pretty hard-packed of late.
But the news is not all good. The spells of rain in the valleys will be a nuisance, and the snowpack will start to thin. Meanwhile up high the combination of wind and new snow is creating dangerous avalanche conditions. The risk is already 3/5 (considerable) in many areas. Above Serre Chevalier, it’s 4/5, which effectively rules out all off-piste skiing.
Here’s how it looked this afternoon in Courchevel, in the Three Valleys, after the skies had cleared.
This was the scene in Ellmau in Austria’s Skiwelt this evening, during a rather lovely sunset.
Here’s how the magnificent Dolomites looked, above Canazei this afternoon.
And this was the top of Jasna in the Low Tatras of Slovakia – where my fellow editors Peter and Felice were skiing today. It was a bracing -18C there today, but the slopes were all but empty…