Superb snow

Our regularly updated blog discusses the weather prospects for the major winter sports regions. Like incomprehensible jargon and meteorological babble? Then you've come to the wrong place!

Blowtorch air mass in the Alps

Posted Tue, 26 Jan 2016 09:27:42

The wintry spell of weather in the Alps which developed early in January has ended and conditions are now very mild. In the coming days it will often be very much like spring high pressure sits over the region.

Today the forecast freezing level is heading up to 3000m in much of the Alps and in many resorts that’s above the highest slopes. It’s not all bad news due to low dewpoints helping preserve the snow during the days and freezing conditions quickly returning once the sun goes down. Nonetheless, it’s not ideal for the longer term prospects and with high season rapidly approaching things could deteriorate without new snow.

00_15_alps0c

Is more snow on the way?

On IcyBlasts you can quickly check the resort and probability forecasts to get an idea of the weather prospects. However, if you want to see the regional view at a glance the brand new 5 and 10 day forecast snow accumulation charts are a fantastic tool. These are generated by taking the amount of precipitable water the GFS computer model is forecasting and then checking to see whether this is expected to be snow or rain. If it’s snow a 10:1 ratio is applied to give an approximation of accumulations, so 1mm of rain is considered equivalent to 1cm of snow.

Check the latest 5 and 10 day forecast snow accumulation charts

This morning’s GFS0z run shows very little snow in the next 5 days, although a disturbance on Thursday and Friday may bring a spell of wet weather to the northern Alps. The 5 day forecast snow accumulation chart below from this morning’s GFS0z computer model run shows localised accumulations of 10cm in the northern alps resulting from that disturbance but very little elsewhere.

Check the individual GFS time step snow forecast charts

 

snowaccum5dayalpshd

Next week

At the moment next week looks mild and mostly dry. Pressure probably remains high across Europe and this is arguably a typical pattern in an El Nino winter. Forecast details will change at this range but as a possible guide here’s a chart showing freezing levels for 15:00GMT, Monday 1st February. Across much of western Europe and the Alps they are off the scale which goes up to 3200m!

00_159_alps0c

Summary

Recent weeks have brought a lot of snow and much improved winter sports conditions to the Alps. However, mild air has returned and it looks set to remain for a while. There is a chance of some rain and snow this week in the northern Alps but the outlook is generally dry. It could be the best conditions will be reserved for late in the season with an increasing chance of pressure falling over Europe and colder pockets of air bringing more typically wintry weather. This would tie in quite well with an El Nino winter pattern.

Posted Mon, 26 Jan 2016 09:25

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Previous Superb Snow

High pressure over Europe
Snow, snow and more snow
Blowtorch air mass in the Alps
Snow conditions get better
More snow for the Alps
Alpine snow drought is ending
Transformation soon in the Alps?
It’s mild out there!
New snow charts and ensemble forecasts
Hairdryer blowing in the Alps

Forecasts

16 day

Deterministic forecast updated 4 times every day. The quickest and easiest way to view a snapshot of the expected weather.

Probability

Up to 16 days ahead these use data from the GEFS ensemble forecasting system. Not resort specific but a fantastic tool for judging confidence levels and seeing the possible temperature and precipitation spreads.

LRF

The long range forecast updated daily is intended to give an indication of possible regional trends.

Weather charts

Like more detailed information? Check out the latest weather forecast charts for winter sports regions in Europe, North America and Japan. Updated every 6 hours, include guidance on freezing levels and expected snow fall.

Latest charts