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WeatherBlog 20 2023/24 | April summer & short onset of winter

Summer in April

by Lea Hartl 04/10/2024
The weather can be summarised as follows at the moment: Before the summer is after the summer is before the summer and sometimes it snows. At the moment we're in a "it's snowing again" phase. Tomorrow summer will return.

Current situation and outlook

The summery, hot and desert-dusty south-westerly flow was interrupted by a small drop of cold air, which brought temperatures back to a relatively normal level. However, this cooler interlude will not last long - the high pressure bridge between the European Atlantic coast and Eastern Europe is closing, the drop of cold air is being pushed away towards North Africa and the sun will be back tomorrow. 

The amount of fresh snow brought by the small and short-lived cold air drop is quite interesting. Today (Wednesday, 10 April) morning, stations on the main Tyrolean ridge are showing around 25-30cm of fresh snow and there should be some more during the day. The Geosphere issued a "snow warning" yesterday and the PowderGuide snow fall map is also surprisingly colourful today considering the temperatures of the last few days.

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It has or should still be snowing today, especially in Tyrol - an unusual "hotspot". For details, we recommend the PowderGuide maps and SNOWGRID at the Geosphere (select "Total snow difference" in the bar at the top). Tomorrow, Thursday, will be sunny and could be quite nice in the higher elevations on the main ridge. For Friday and the weekend there is also plenty of sunshine on the horizon, as well as temperatures that will be suitable for visits to lakes. At the beginning of next week, the April rollercoaster will descend again abruptly with further chances of fresh snow in the mountains and danger for fruit blossoms.

April records, Sahara dust again

The heat of the last few days was remarkable, even if the MeteoSwiss blog rightly writes of a "shifting baseline" of perceived normality. In Austria, Styria set a new record for the earliest date with over 30°C and many other regions throughout the Alps were only just below the 30°C mark. Around 20% of weather stations in Austria have set new April records in the last few days. Such records usually fall at the end of the month and not in the first few days of April. In Switzerland, there were also several new April records, especially at higher altitudes.

Saharan dust has also been on our minds a lot recently. Statistically, this is not very unusual, but perhaps the opposite effect is taking place here as with the temperatures: we are not used to the dust, so we notice it. The above-average temperatures have - it feels like - become normal, so we don't find a few warmer days so special. A recently published study on the frequency of Saharan dust events found that dust was actually transported to Western Europe (the study area mainly includes Spain and France) particularly often in 2020-2022. The dust transport is related both to quite small-scale processes in the desert areas and to the larger-scale weather situation. Dust must be present, it must be whirled upwards and then the flow in the higher atmospheric layers must bring the dust to us. The study explains which high and low pressure constellations are suitable for this and have caused the accumulation in the years 2020-22. There is no clear link to climate change, as the time series is not long enough and the development of the weather patterns is too ambiguous. A brief summary can be found here. The DWD has a few illustrative graphics on the topic, which show above all how unclear possible trends can be.

Photo gallery

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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