Alps Receive One Of The Biggest October Snowfall’s In Recent Memory

Written by on October 11, 2013 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 1 Comment

As expected, not only the did the low cross the north coast of Scotland and dive down the North Sea bringing heavy rain and gales to SE Britain but it also cut off and dumped record early season snow on the Austrian, Swiss and Italian Alps over the past 36 hours.

The low pressure system once into France began to cut off from the main upper flow with ridging over top settling the weather down across Ireland, Scotland into Denmark and southern Scandinavia but as the low sank south with some very cold air, it’s circulation began to tap warm, moist air from the warmer than normal Med Sea. The collision between warm, moist air running into the cold, dense air over the mountains, allowed the perfect setup for some tremendous early season snows in the Alps.

As much as 70cm (27.6″) fell over parts of the Austrian Tirol and here, this was reported as one of the greatest October snowfall in recent memory.

Check out this stunning scene from the Graubünden region of Switzerland where upwards of 65cm fell.

Massive snowfalls for Arosa (in the Graubünden), Switzerland (Courtesy of

Massive snowfalls for Arosa (in the Graubünden), Switzerland (Courtesy of

The photo at the top of the article captures record October snow over the Tirol region of Austria, captured by the Austrian Met Dept. According to, parts of the southern Tirol of Austria and the Lombardy region of NE Italy woke to some of the greatest October snow accumulations on record.

This of course was forecasted since last weekend here and models were pretty adamant at dropping a considerable amount of snow. As forecasted, 1-2ft fell in some of the higher resorts.

While the southern Tirol collected 70cm which is over 2 feet. Livigno, Italy saw as much as 40cm with similar amounts in SE Switzerland according to

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Here was the upper and surface pattern which supplied the big Alpine snows.


That same low is stuck in place just now but models take it slowly back north. An arm of heavy rain on the northern flank will present a real soaking across northern Germany, the Netherlands into southeast England tonight as you can see from the GFS surface chart below.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Through tomorrow the low will have a distinctly wet north and south side while there’s a void in precip with even sunny skies directly underneath over Germany and the Low Countries. Heavy rain will continue along the strong ENE winds over Southeast England into Sunday.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Between Monday and Wednesday, the model takes the low up over the UK bringing spells of moderate to heavy rain and continued blustery conditions by mid week on, high pressure builds down from Iceland briefly, forcing the messy conditions back into Europe.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

However, the GFS brings a fairly large and deep low packing wind and rain into the UK mid week. This helps carve out a Scandinavia trough with cold air dropping south.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Next week will be Atlantic dominated but given the +PNA, -NAO, -AO signal towards October 20th, we should watch this pattern carefully as cold should try to build west over Europe I believe.

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  1. BOB says:

    Interesting that the Las Vegas mountains also received a record snowfall for October yesterday (albeit only 5-7 inches) but is there a parallel?

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