Alps: Into Christmas Week and the Snow Chase continues
Blog by Julian R
Issued: 23rd December 2016 16:28
Updated: 23rd December 2016 16:35

Alps: Into Christmas Week and the Snow Chase continues

The photograph above taken by Carinthian on the Netweather community. View more and take part in the Alps snowfall and general ski and snowboarding discussions here.

Synoptic Situation

Synoptic Pattern Actual - 0600 23rd December

There has been quite a lot of debate in relation to the snow conditions over the Alps over the past few weeks. Due to High Pressure generally being in control snowfall has been disappointing in recent weeks, and as a result snow conditions have suffered greatly.

The best conditions tend to be on-piste on higher slopes where November snow has been retained better, and where snow cannons have been in operation.

During the past week, there has been some fresh snow, however, less than was predicted, however, some localised parts of Italy had very heavy snowfalls with over a metre of fresh snow, but this is the exception, not the rule.

 Where there is snow, the weather has been very sunny, so conditions are good.


Synoptic Situation

The Current synoptic setup is storm Barbara affecting the UK and parts of Northern Europe with High Pressure for the Alps (1032-1036mb) keeping things dry and settled. Into the weekend a weak cold front linked to storm Barbara will edge South Eastwards and bring some precipitation for Northern and North Eastern parts of the Alps, moderate in places. For Christmas Day, Storm Conor is set to affect the UK and Northern Europe with the front fizSynoptic pattern prediction - December 29 noonzling out over the Alps, but bringing some snow in places.

Into next week, and the general theme of High Pressure over mainland Europe will remain. However there are set to be variations in the exact locations of the High.

Monday is forecast to see the High Pressure centred over NW France with NW winds over the Alps on the eastern flank of the High Pressure, with a further front edging South East Monday evening into Tuesday.

The High Pressure is expected to move over Central Europe and remains very much in place until the weekend (at least) returning conditions to dry and settled. However, winds are set to rise with some very strong gusts possible midweek.

In terms of temperatures, generally quite mild, with 850HPa temps above zero in western areas for the most part and above +5c for mid week. Further East, the northerly incursions will reduce the temps below 0c (850Hpa), but returning to above 0c or even +5c, by midweek.



As mentioned above, two cold fronts from the North/Northwest are expected to give precipitation during this coming week.

Christmas Eve into Christmas Day – Precipitation is likely for NW Austria (especially Tyrol) from evening well into Christmas Day, becoming a bit more widespread over Austria, Southern Germany and Northern Switzerland for a time Christmas morning. Snow levels generally above 1000-1200m, but rising by noon Christmas Day to over 2000m as milder air re-establishes itself from the west. Snow amounts generally small, but some parts may receive 20cm.



26 December to 27 December

A cold front is set to edge South East bring precipitation for

Southern Germany, Northern Switzerland and Northern Austria during the late evening, this set to quickly become concentrated around the Tyrol overnight, before dying out quickly on the 27 Dec. Snow levels 1500m ahead of the front to around 900m behind the front and into Tuesday. Snow amounts generally small, but some parts may receive 10-20cm.

In both cases, southern parts of the Alps remaining dry.



Temperatures - Freezing Levels

Saturday (24 Dec) -1800m-2100m Generally, 2100-2400m Italy

Sunday (25 Dec) -1200m-1800m Eastern Austria, 2100-2400m Western Austria, 2400-2700m Switzerland and French Alps

Monday (26 Dec) -2200m-2400m Germany, 2600-2800m Switzerland and Austria, 3000-3200m Italy

Tuesday (27 Dec) -600m-800m Eastern Austria and SE Germany, 1000-1400m Eastern Switzerland, NE Italy and Western Austria, 1800-2800m W Italy, Western Switzerland and French Alps

Wednesday (28 Dec) -900m-1500m Eastern Austria, 1800-2700m Western Austria and NE Italy, 3000m-3300m Switzerland, French Alps and SW Germany, NW Italy

Thursday (29 Dec) -2100m-2400m Eastern Austria, 2700-3000m Generally elsewhere

Friday (30 Dec) -2100m-2400m Austria, 2400-3000m Generally elsewhere


Generally mild and settled for this week, not a particularly good prognosis for the Alps as we look ahead into the new year. There are signs of a massive change in the new year, with much colder conditions, but that is a very long way off at the moment.

Tags: Winter Sports  Travel

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