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WeatherBlog for freeriders | 04/2010 | Föhn and a Christmas front

by Lea Hartl 12/22/2010
After a fantastic powder day on Thursday last week (16.12.), we had slightly frozen noses and a little toe that didn't really want to thaw out. On Friday, a chairlift acquaintance complained bitterly about the weather in general and the snow in particular, saying it couldn't be that it had been snowing for three weeks and the wife at home in Germany had to clear the snow again. In fact, this is already the second ski vacation where the sun never shines and it is also far too cold and in future he would stay at home?

After a fantastic powder day on Thursday last week (16.12.), we had slightly frozen noses and a little toe that didn't really want to thaw out. On Friday, a chairlift acquaintance complained bitterly about the weather in general and the snow in particular, saying it couldn't be that it had been snowing for three weeks and the wife at home in Germany had to clear the snow again. In fact, this is already the second ski vacation where the sun never shines and it is also far too cold, and in future he would stay at home?

Foehn and temperature inversion

A few days later (Wednesday, 22.12.), only the still numb toe reminds us of the frosty times gone by. Large parts of the Alps have been experiencing plus temperatures since the beginning of the week, and even double-digit temperatures in the typical Föhn corridors. The mighty blocking layer, which had faithfully accompanied us for so long and ensured icy cold temperatures, handed over the sceptre after an honorable term of office and since then a low over the Iberian Peninsula has been determining the Alpine weather. The warm south-westerly current brings accumulating precipitation south of the main ridge, at least above around 1500 meters as snow, and in the north the foehn rules. Where the wind and any precipitation were not strong enough to clear out the remaining cold air on the ground, thick high fog formed due to the temperature inversion (air warmer at the top than at the bottom). This effect probably saved the closed snow cover at Christmas in the lowlands, at least in places.

Who is to blame for the traffic chaos in northern Germany?

Especially after the many very good days of the past few weeks, it is sometimes difficult to motivate oneself for the blown, increasingly harsh snow, especially when the risk of avalanches is relatively high. Some people may become envious when the news reports about snow chaos and horror winters in northern Europe, while here we are increasingly feeling like spring. Either incompetent drivers and poorly prepared airports are responsible for the traffic problems in the north or, if you really want to take this view, a persistent low pressure system that is slowly moving north-east from the British Isles and is currently over Scandinavia.

Outlook: Christmas snow and then sunny winter weather

Our low in Spain is in contact with its colleague to the north and together they form a kind of low-pressure trough that stretches diagonally across Europe. The interesting thing about this is the very long frontal zone, which is more or less actively shifting further and further east. Just in time for Christmas Eve, things will get exciting in this respect, as the precipitation should slowly reach the Alps. It will become increasingly colder from the west and the rain is likely to change to snow in some valleys during the night of the 25th. After that, it currently looks like relatively cold, sunny winter weather with high fog in many valleys.

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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