Hurricane force winds from Storm “Eleanor” have slammed into northern Europe with 100 MPH winds, significant storm surges, with several feet of snow for the French and Swiss Alps. Tragedy from the Chamonix region struck a few days ago when a skier was killed by a falling tree. According to the BBC 2 others were killed in the Basque region of Spain when they were swept away by a very large wave. Additional feet of snow are possible in the Alps favoring France and Switzerland in the next 7-10 days. Warmer temperatures may keep mixed precipitation at the bases with snow at upper elevation resorts. Temperature models stay relatively warm at lower elevations with a general cooling trend during the middle to end of next week. Many roads are currently not passable in the French Alps this morning.
The storm slammed over Ireland creating fooding, uprooting of trees before spreading over the UK and eventually the Alps earlier this week. Over 2 feet of snow was reported at the Chamonix ski resort. Aspen local Jimmy Rogers who currently is in Chamonix texted me “The seasons start was one of the best in 20 years but now heavy snow then rain has turned the Avalanche risk to 5/5 and shut things down” Titlis-Engelberg in Switzerland is reporting a 480 CM base at the summit. Nax Valais ski area in the French Alps is reporting 39 inches in the past 24 hours and 76 inches in the past 7 days according to Onthesnow.com Also reported is 71 inches in the past week at the Sainte Foy- Tarentaise Ski resort in the French Alps.
Image: Webcam at Sainte Foy-Tarentaise ski area in France
Searching various sites today shows many areas are closed or have limited terrain open. Its likely due to high avalanche danger as opposed to a lack of snow. In searching historical snow data it appears that December featured nearly 15 days of measurable snowfall with the highest amounts coming late December through the current period. Many resorts in the French and Swiss Alps are near or above the100 inch base benchmark at the summits. Much less snow has fallen at low elevation terrain or resorts including rain at the bases.
The weather models for these regions are showing significant high elevation snowfall in the next 7-10 days. Below is a map showing significant snowfall in the French and southern Swiss Alps through the middle of next week. The areas in pink are for the highest elevations per the GFS model in excess of 50 inches (7 day totals for upper elevations may exceed this). Peak snowfall may come late this weekend through early next week. Other areas of the Alps including Austria and Italy will also see measurable snowfall (lower amounts). Image: WX Bell
Below: Tignes in the Chamonix region of France via FB “chamonix snow report”
This winter has been a roller coaster over many areas of the Globe with near record 24 hours snowfall being recorded near Thompson Pass Alaska to some very large dumps in New England where a Nor Easter is pounding the east coast currently. Very little to no snow has fallen in the mountains of New Mexico and certain areas of the southern San Juan range in Colorado. Tallahassee Florida saw snow for it’s first time in 28 years. Here is a tweet from The Tallahassee Police Department this morning where it is 38 degrees.
Via Twitter “It’s snowing in Tallahassee! As exciting as this is, please use extreme caution if you are driving & don’t expose yourself to the cold for too long without proper gear. #SunshineState #SnowDay #WinterIsHere”
Weather models are showing significant snow for the coastal areas of New England through Friday morning. My best forecast for New England is 8-11 inches for resorts closest to the coast like Sunday River or Sugarloaf in Maine. 5-10 inches is likely in North Conway with 4-7 inches likely in southern Vermont. 10-18 inches may fall at local ski hills outside Boston like Nashoba or Wachusett (Night ski powder option).
Below: Total snowfall through Friday morning in New England – Image: WX Bell
Looking ahead for the west where some area have been bone dry in the 4 corners may bring some relief by mid next week. A large system may swing into the central or southern Sierra and bring a foot or more of snow to that region by Thursday next week. That may swing into the southern and central Rockies (My next post on TGR).
Powderchaser Steve @powderchasersteve @powderchasers Instagram