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[Blog] Alps Weather Forecast 20 December 2014

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Current Situation

Definitely a week of contrasts, fronts from the North West brought snow to the Alps for the mid part of this week especially on Wednesday with parts of the French Alps and Switzerland seeing 20-30cm of fresh snow on upper slopes.

However there is a big but in that temperatures rose significantly with freeing levels well above 2000m.

In summary conditions are better than last week and with some good skiing conditions at the highest slopes. However conditions are still generally worse than normal at this time of year and lower slopes are either closed or offer pretty poor conditions.

Synoptic Situation

There is an alternating pattern this coming week, ranging from mild South westerly and a Tropical Maritime air mass and a colder Polar Maritime air mass from the North West.

Currently there is a South Westerly flow and a Tropical Maritime air mass over the Alps with 850HPa of +7c to +8c for parts of Austria.

This is short-lived though as it turns colder from the North West, with a Polar Maritime air mass and a cold front bringing some precipitation overnight. This cold weather slowly spreading south east across the Alps on Saturday,

However this in turn is short lived as on Sunday turning milder as the winds revert South Westerly over the Western Alps. However remaining much colder over NE Austria for much of Sunday with 850HPa below -5c.

Monday seeing things turning much milder across all the Alps with the Azores High also bringing drier conditions with 850Hpa up to +7 to +8c in places.

This pattern looks likely to stay in charge through to Wednesday, with South Westerly winds and High Pressure, perhaps slightly less mild.

More uncertainty for Christmas Day and the end of the week, but signs but signs of colder weather from the north with the greatest risk of this is over Eastern areas of the Alps especially for Austria.


A weak cold Front from the NW edges in the overnight period into Saturday perhaps bringing a few cms of snow above 1500m to Northern parts of the Alps before it fizzles away Saturday morning.

Another weak front from the north is set to give a few cms of snow to resort level to SE Germany, Western and Central areas of Austria during the early hours of Sunday morning.

For Christmas Day, another weak front from the north is set to give a few cms of snow above about 1200-1500m for SE Germany, N Switzerland and Western and Central areas of Austria, but this is a lot of uncertainty about this.

Freezing Levels (Based on 12Hz GFS run - Fri 19 Dec)

Sat – 1200m-1600m S Germany, Northern parts of Austria rising going south to over 2000m for for Northern Italy but colder later

Sun – 800m-1000m North Eastern Austria rising steadily moving South and West, over 2000m for French Alps and SW Switzerland.

Mon – 2200m-2400m Austria and SE Germany rising moving South and West, over 3000m for French Alps. S Switzerland and Italy.

Tue – 2800m-3000m Austria and SE Germany rising moving South and West, 3200-3400m for French Alps. S Switzerland and Italy.

Wed – 2200m-2400m NW Alps slowly rising to 2600-2800m further SE

Thu– 1000m NE Austria. 1600-1800m Central areas, over 2000m French Alps, S Switzerland and N Italy Fri – 600m NE Austria. 1200-1400m Central areas, 1600- 1800m French Alps and SW Switzerland.


Turning colder briefly this weekend with a little snow, before much milder again for the start of next week.

Signs of things turning a little colder for Christmas Day and the end of the week with a little snow, both more especially for Northern and Eastern parts of the Alps.

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