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Alps - Mostly Unsettled with a lot of precipitation and some snow

Alps - Mostly Unsettled with a lot of precipitation and some snow

Blog by Julian R
Published on 17th March 2017 21:18

Last Week

At times over the Alps last week, it really felt like the start to Spring with plentiful sunny weather and quite often mild or even warm temperatures in the sun. While this meant great skiing weather, this has had an impact on slopes, with spring-like slushy conditions in many resorts into the afternoon. Some lower resorts are starting to be snow free at resort level, so very much a case of the higher the better.

Synoptic Pattern

Low pressure is expected to cover the Alps to start this weekend (1012-1016mb) with widespread precipitation likely for Northern parts of the Alps to start. However there is High Pressure to the west of the Alps, and this is set to slowly build over the Alps to end the weekend and for the start of next week. Winds largely from the west, so always fairly mild.

During Tuesday low pressure centred to the north of the UK is set to feed in cooler North Westerly over the Alps and feed in cold fronts bringing further precipitation.  The colder air always saying away from the Alps, with 850Hpa never falling below 0c at least in the daytime.

Towards the end of the week, Low Pressure is set to cover Central Europe, so further precipitation likely for the Alps, wind direction is set to be variable, so alternating cool and mild spells.

Freezing Levels and Temperatures

So generally mild to start, with the coolest weather the further North and East you go, before generally turning milder over the weekend and for the start of next week.

Into the middle of next week, and fronts from the North West trying to turn things colder, this making fragmented progress South Eastwards towards the end of next week.



A rather unsettled start to the weekend, with precipitation to start for the North of the Alps, this continuing through much of the day, and edging further south into parts of southern Switzerland and Austria, but always heavier over Northern areas.

The precipitation continuing into Sunday for northern parts of Austria, and heavy at times around the Tyrol, this continuing until evening before slowly fizzling out.

At this stage, Monday looks like a mostly dry with only a few showers possibly in Austria at times.

So for the next 3 days, the heaviest precipitation for Austria, with 50cm of snow possible in places over 2000m, with the snow level around 1800m, but this will fluctuate few hundred metres above and below this level. As a result below 1500m rainfall is much more likely.










Thereafter intermodal variation makes timings very difficult, but the general theme is for fronts to edge in from the North West, with heavy precipitation likely at times with central areas most at risk from heavy precipitation.

Towards the weekend, possibly Thursday/Friday, further precipitation is expected to edge in from the West with some very heavy precipitation currently modelled, this time Western areas most favoured for the heaviest of the precipitation.

In terms of snowfall, the snowfall level will fluctuate widely, below 1000m any precipitation is likely to be rain, between 1000-1500m mostly rain. In contrast above 1750m the majority of the precipitation is likely to fall as snow, with over 2000m seeing most do the precipitation falling as snow. However detail is very difficult at this point.


So a fairly mixed week, rather unsettled with a lot of precipitation and not unusually for the end fo the season, altitude massively important.

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