Snow in the mountains: a remarkable start to the season


By Cyrille DUCHESNE, meteorologist

As expected, the snow has made its comeback in the mountains with a dominant northwesterly flow that carries air increasingly cold at altitude. The rain-snow limit varies between 1200 and 1600 m according to the massifs and will further lower in the coming days.

Since the beginning of the week, several episodes of snow have occurred on our mountains. The Alps and the Pyrenees were the best served. With the flow oriented to the north-west sector, the weather conditions are particularly favorable to the snow on the Pyrenean massif by blocking effect.

Already 40 to 50 cm of snow in 2000 m in the Pyrenees and it is not finished …

An important snowpack is constituted at medium and high altitude on the Pyrenees with 40 to 60 cm to 1800 m, 60 to 80 cm on the west and the center of the Pyrenees around 2000/2200 meters of altitude. New snowfall occurs this weekend with the persistence of a disturbed northwestern regime. Snow accumulations will reach 30 to 60 cm at 1300 m on the Pyrenees-Atlantiques and Hautes Pyrenees massifs. We should exceed the bar of 1 meter of snow at 2000 meters.

Snow already very good at high altitude in the Alps

The snow has made its comeback in the Alps for a few days. The mountains of Haute Tarentaise, Belledonne and Oisans already have a very good snow above 2000 meters. The station Nivose des Ecrins at 2900 m observed a snow depth of 128 cm on November 5th. According to Meteo-France, such a value has not been reached since the year 2000. At medium altitude, heights of around 20 to 30 cm can be observed around 1800 meters above sea level. Note that the rain-snow limit has decreased to 1200 meters on some mountains in the northern Alps.

Sprinkling on the ridges of Massif Central, Vosges and Jura

With cooling in progress, the crests of the Vosges and Jura were slightly bleached.

On the Massif-Central, a small layer of snow is observed on the heights of the Sancy massif. The weather situation will become more and more favorable to snowfall on Sunday with a rain-snow limit that will go down to 1000 meters of altitude. The western part of the Massif-Central and in particular the Cantal mountains are the most exposed to the flow of west to north-west disturbed. We expect 10 to 20 cm around 1200 m by Monday.

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