With yesterday's Wednesday, the weather highlight of this week is already behind us and we will have to wait longer for a day that is even remotely as sunny. The weather is boiling over the North Atlantic, where new extensive storm lows are forming all the time. Starting from here, one frontal system after another reaches us at short intervals.
Premiere on the "Gran Becca"
Tomorrow, Saturday at 11:30 a.m., the first descent on the new cross-border downhill course "Gran Becca" will take place. It represents a superlative in terms of altitude, it is also the second-longest course in the Ski World Cup – after the Lauberhorn and this against a breathtaking backdrop - also thanks to the view of one of the most famous mountains in the world, the Matterhorn. Provided the weather cooperates!
Fig. 1: View of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and the Breithorn plateau (top right); Source: Wikipedia
Starting from a low over the North Sea, another disturbance will reach and cross the Alps in the coming night, followed tomorrow by a surge of unstable cold high-altitude air. After overnight snowfall, Saturday will start with residual clouds and the last snow showers in the Zermatt/Breuil-Cervinia ski area. On the Italian side, it dries out quickly and the clouds clear. This is also the case on the Swiss side after a slight delay. From a purely visual point of view, the conditions will improve more and more by midday and it will even become quite sunny. However, the wind could become a spoilsport, in addition to the fresh snow on the route. In the morning, it will still be blowing strongly to gale-force from the west to northwest, with gusts initially peaking at 70 to 80 km/h on the Kleine Matterhorn and Gobba die Rollin . In general, the entire Breithorn plateau is very exposed to wind. In the morning, temperatures at the start range between -14 and -12 degrees, and in combination with the wind(wind chill effect) there is a risk of frostbite on unprotected skin. In this extreme terrain, this is a logistical and clothing-related challenge for athletes, coaches and race staff! During the course of the day, the high-altitude wind tends to ease slightly, but is likely to remain too strong for a start from the top. In addition, a pressure difference between north and south will begin to build up, resulting in foehn effects (north foehn in the valleys on the southern side of the Alps). We expect a delayed start from further down, but of course there is still a lack of experience on this new route. The terrain is also open on the Italian side, so the race may not be feasible in these wind conditions. We are keeping our fingers crossed!
The Sunday race
The downhill on Sunday will probably fall victim to the bad weather conditions in general. On the one hand, strong winds are still blowing, while a warm front is causing poor visibility and snowfall.
Foehn, clouds and rain
An occluded frontal system will kick things off today. In the run-up to it, there was initially still a foehn in the Alps, while in the east there was still a bit of sun shimmering through the already abundant clouds. This afternoon, however, the foehn will slowly die down in the Rhine Valley. With heavy cloud cover, rain will spread from the west and the snow line will be between 1400 and 1500 meters. In the far east, it will be mostly dry until the early evening. Accompanied by a moderate south-westerly wind in places, temperatures will reach 9 to 10 degrees, with up to 13 degrees in the foehn valleys. There will be a brief dry phase during the coming night with temporary clearing, then new precipitation will spread. The snow line will drop to 1100 to 1300 meters.
Changeable west wind weather
Although this description applies to almost every day from now on, Friday is a prime example. The day begins with heavy cloud cover and often still wet. Snow falls from 1100 to 1200 meters. During the day, the responsible disturbance will move eastwards, the showers will ease and the clouds will break up. Temporarily, the sun may even shine relatively well, but this is only a snapshot. In the course of the afternoon and evening, the clouds from the west will thicken again and new showers will spread with the next disturbance – of a cold front –. The snow line will drop to 1000 meters. The night into Saturday is often cloudy and wet, with flakes reaching 700 to 800 meters by the morning.
Fig. 1: One front goes, the next comes – Changeable Friday; Source: MeteoNews
Windy with more showers, then intermediate high pressure
Saturday morning will bring changeable weather with more passing showers, but also some clearing. The snow line will vary between 700 and 1000 meters – depending on intensity and region. The air pressure will rise and the weather will calm down from the west in the afternoon. With strong south-westerly to westerly winds, temperatures will mostly remain in the single digits. On the mountains, strong to stormy winds will blow from the west to northwest. Visually, there is definitely a window of opportunity for the first men's downhill on the new "Gran Becca" course, with the sun making an appearance. However, the wind is likely to be a problem, and a start from the very top seems rather unlikely at the moment. We will deal with this topic separately here tomorrow!
The night into Sunday will be mostly dry and partly clear –, with mainly high veils of cloud and a significant drop in wind. As a result, it will cool down considerably, and on Sunday morning it will often only be slightly above zero. In the east, some sunshine will initially shine through the clouds, but these will quickly become denser and more compact from the west. They are part of a warm front. This will also bring new precipitation, and depending on the timing, it may initially snow down to lower altitudes. However, milder air will reach us again with the warm front. As a result, the snow line will begin to rise significantly; initially around 1000 meters, rising to 1500 meters by the evening – in the far west, in some cases as high as 2000 meters. On the second men's downhill, the wind is now joined by poor visibility and snowfall in places.
Fig. 2: Outlook for the coming days; Source: MeteoNews
Cloudy week with large amounts of precipitation
Next week, our weather will remain dynamic and characterized by low pressure, with large amounts of precipitation expected as things stand today! The snow line will be high in the first half of the week, with rain and meltwater adding up. On Monday it will vary around 1500 meters, but on Tuesday it will rise to 2500 to 3000 meters. In the course of the second half of the week, it will then gradually begin to fall again. If you look at the current computer models, it could even snow again at lower altitudes the weekend after next. However, it is definitely still too early for such details, the range of uncertainty is too large. Updates on the ski races and the expected amounts of precipitation and any problems that may arise as a result will follow!
The content of this article has been at least partially computer translated from another language. Therefore, grammatical errors or inaccuracies are possible. Please note that the original language version of the article should be considered authoritative.