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WeatherBlog 13 2022/23 | High pressure is slowly weakening

More volatile towards the weekend

by Lea Hartl 02/15/2023
With double-digit temperatures and plenty of sunshine, February now feels a lot like spring. Only there's usually more snow in spring... The next few days will finally see some movement in the weather. Large amounts of snow are not in sight, but it will at least be wetter again and the chances of a small refresh are increasing.

Current situation and outlook

The unclouded sunshine in the Alps is slowly coming to an end. The blocking high that has accompanied us since last week is still clearly dominant and has not let any disturbances through apart from a few high clouds. The situation will gradually change from tomorrow: The high will shift somewhat and be pushed southwards. As a result, the Atlantic influence in this country will increase again and the upper-level current will switch to a west to north-westerly direction. Tomorrow, Thursday, this will only be noticeable through a few clouds and more diffuse light, if at all. Temperatures will slowly drop again, but there will be no wintery cold.

On Friday, it will become increasingly windy and cloudy, especially in the north. The south is "weather-favored", although it may become quite windy there too. A disturbance with - it's hard to believe - some fresh snow is expected to reach the northern Alps in the night to Saturday. The precipitation will subside during the course of the day and, from today's perspective, Sunday will be quite friendly again. The outlook for next week is comparatively changeable, with a chance of further precipitation on Monday, again mainly in the eastern northern Alps. It doesn't look like it will be very productive. The WeatherBlog is expecting a small update on the snow conditions rather than the big monster dump that is still missing in many places.

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Much too dry, especially in the west

There is still very little snow, especially in the western Alps. The SLF map is orange to red across the board and a trip through the webcams in Switzerland's high ski resorts doesn't leave a good impression either. In Saas Fee, for example, you can see an alarming amount of bare glacier ice. At high altitudes, the greatest snow depths are often only reached late in the season, when warm, moist snow sticks better to the steep flanks, but you could expect more than a few handbreadths of snow in February.

The precipitation deficit in the west is now so high that it would have to snow a lot to get back to normal levels this winter. If the drought continues, there is a risk of another extremely negative year for the glaciers, which have already suffered greatly in the 2021/22 season. It's not just the summer that is crucial for the glaciers - the course is already set in winter. The thicker the winter snow cover, the longer it takes for the ice to melt in summer. If, like last year, glaciers are already free of snow in June and then there is a hot summer, not only does a lot of ice melt, a lot of ice melts over a correspondingly longer period of time.

A good winter snow cover is also important for hydropower generation, as is rain in the other seasons, of course. In some regions, the lack of precipitation last year was at least partially compensated for by an increase in glacier runoff. Logically, the record melting of the glaciers also produces more meltwater than in an average year. However, this balancing effect only works as long as there is still ice left to melt...

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This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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