• The Chatel Snow Report

06/12/2018: Today's Updates... 8.25pm...


This time tomorrow evening we should be seeing the first signs of the cold front that is expected to herald a much more interesting period of snowfalls, with Sunday and Monday looking like being the favoured days for some significant accumulations - more on this on the forecast in the morning.

A look at the charts for what might happen after the weekend snowfalls - ie, beyond Tuesday, does suggest a real battle will take place between high pressure taking up residence for a time over Scandinavia, and the Atlantic low pressure systems. There have been hints in recent days that this potential high over Scandinavia / NE Europe could be resilient and create a block, bringing cold weather from the east, but always the danger that we might see something warmer move up from the south or southeast. Today, the models have suggested that the block will get easily blown away by low pressure steamrolling its way across Europe. The ECMWF charts from this morning and this evening's runs showed a huge low pressure system developing with a huge fetch reaching across the Atlantic. This would potentially bring alot of precipitation and the chance of huge snowfalls to the area. There are risks in this scenario, as we could end up on the milder side of things from time to time, so there is that damp squid scenario (remember Janaury 2018), however, IF (and it is a big if, as the block could again be shown to be stronger on future model runs), we keep seeing similar charts such as those from the ECMWF today, then there will be alot to talk about during next week.


A brighter afternoon was a welcome change here in Chatel, after the morning rain, and a quick trip up to the Col de Croix, via L'Epervier piste found a dusting of fresh snow and the view below - as the sun went down. Another update is expected this evening, once all the models are updated, to see what may lie beyond the weekend.


The weather is drying up here now and we can see higher up into the ski area. Below are the latest views, taken a few minutes ago, looking towards Linga, showing a tiny bit of snow higher up.

Next update is expected to be this evening, with a look at the scenario beyond next Tuesday and that snowy looking ECMWF scenario...


Showery rain still falling in Chatel and it looks as though there has been a bit of snow above about 1700m, though clouds have been obscuring the peaks for much of morning.

Right; a look at potential snow amounts for the period from tomorrow night. Note that there is the added complication of the snow/rain limits, which may rise on Saturday evening / night to around 1800m for a time, before yo-yoing around the village elevation during Sunday. So for the village, it;s a fairly impossible task for any predictions at present, as relatively small adjustments in the snow/rain limits will have major impacts on the ground. We may have a clearer view of these limits tomorrow, but experience tells us that once these limits are close to the village, it becomes more of a nowcast scenario. Some models suggest 30cm for the village by Monday night, but whether that is anywhere near the final outcome, remains to be seen.

For elevations a little bit higher, there is support for significant amounts of snow from the models, with a figure of around 70cm for the 1800m elevation possible, if these models are correct. Again, at this stage, we can't be sure that they are on the right track, but the charts look as though they have the potential for these sorts of amounts.

From a personal perspective, if it is a case of the end result being 70cm for 1800m (= more for the higher parts) between Friday and Tuesday and 30cm for the village, then we would be very satisfied with such an outcome. However, there remains a chance that the outcome could be better than this, or worse. We don't really want to contemplate a worst case scenario at this stage, as unless the charts downgrade, for example by extending the period when we are under the milder air on Saturday night, then we should be OK.

Could it be better? Well there is one model that often looks at snowfall in a rose-tinted glasses sort of way, which is the Arpege model. In some ways this model is highly regarded, however, we don't trust its precipitation forecasts, especially when it is attempting to quantify snow accumulations. So, just for a bit of fun, below is its latest forecast up to early on Monday. Note that this will include this morning's precipitation, but doesn't cover any snowfall after 6am Monday. All that can be said is that there is alot of snow showing on that chart, especially as Monday could see further snowfall. The numbers shown below would be very nice IF they actually happen, however, at this stage, it is only one of a number of possible outcomes.

Chart above from the meteociel website.


Ooh la la - for any model watchers, take a look at the latter stages of the ECMWF operational model run this morning (and to a lesser degree the GFS) - more comment on this during the day, as it appears to show a potential snow armageddon scenario for the weekend of the 15th December - see below from the wonderful meteociel website...


It is a wet start to the morning here in Chatel, as recently described over on the forecast page. We'll be taking a look at the weekend snowfall event and snow/rain limits on a post later this morning...

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12/04/2021: Today's Updates...

Update: 1.30pm: Overnight snowfall brought up to 6cm to the village - with less on other surfaces and alot of it has now thawed at this elevation. It was interesting to see more snow a few miles away