Sunday, December 6, 2020

Alpine Storm Update

As we sit mired under a ridge in Utah, we look once again to the Alps for interesting mountain weather. 

The storm discussed in prior posts has had quite an impact on the southern Limestone Alps of Austria and northeast Italy.  The Tyrolean newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung reports level 5 (highest possible) in the East Tyrol, with power outages and mudslides in other areas. 


The Tirol Avalanche Report shows level 5 avalanche hazard in the East Tirol and portions of the Dolomites.  Heavy snow also fell along the Carnic Alps further east and south of Villach, Austria, not covered by the Tirol Avalanche Report.


In fact, one of the more impressive meteograms I could find was from the Porzehütte, an Austrian Alpine Club hut on the Carnic main ridge south of Obertilliach (red dot below) where the height of the snowpack (HS) climbed from about 20 cm to 199 cm in less than 2 days.  That's a snowfall rate of about a meter (40") per day.  The water equivalent of that snowfall is around 250 mm (10"), so this is some high-density base builder.  


A look at avalanche reports for mountain areas around Cortina and elsewhere not covered by the avalanche reports above shows level 4 (high) danger.  Snow levels in that area were fairly high.  Observations from Seiser Alm Zallinger at 2055 meters above Val Gardena show temperatures for much of the event hovering near 0˚C.  Snowpack height observations are spotty, but show an increase of about 100 cm.  


At lower elevations, rain and wet snow has fallen.  An example is the village of Castelrotto at about 1000 m.


It would be great if we could get a good base builder storm like that.  How about a multi-day storm with 40-70 inches of high density snow and a snow level of around 6500 feet so we can continue COVID hikes in the foothills?  

One can dream.

1 comment:

  1. There is no shortage of reasons to pray for snow around these parts. In this year in particular, however, snow might be the only thing to keep people home!