18/12/2018: Today's Updates... 6.35pm
Not a great deal more to be learned from the model runs so far this evening (still too early to view the latest ECMWF).
Saturday is looking wet, with the GFS determined to keep those snow/rain limits really high - but question marks remain for the Christmas period and beyond.
Still possibly trending chillier on or after Christmas Day.
It's one of those ones where it is best left until the morning...
The weather has been great in general today with mostly clear skies helping keep temperatures down, aided by the fact that the sun is low in the sky at the moment. Snow cannon were still operating in some areas this morning. There was some wind, as expected, at the tops of some of the lifts, with the photo below showing the blowing snow at the top of Cornebois this afternoon, which is almost at 2100m. The snow remained cold today - as in there was no softening in the sunshine and there was a variety of snow conditions to be found this afternoon, with some soft and dry snow but also an increasing number of noticeable areas that were much harder, especially on some of the steeper bits, which had seen some traffic. The pistes were quiet this afternoon, with the bulk of the people on the mountain appearing to be the groups of French school children. Conditions were probably at their best first thing this morning after the overnight grooming, but were pretty good in general this afternoon during our recce.
From mid-afternoon, there has been a bit more in the way of high cloud arrive, making the sunshine hazier and this cloud heralds the return of some precipitation that is expected to arrive during the latter part of tomorrow morning. More on this tomorrow morning.
There may be another update to this page this evening, once the latest models have been seen, to see if there is any further evidence of a cool down over the Christmas period, with a Christmas Day snowfall, after a mild spell from Friday to Monday. There was no evidence of this on the GFS 6z run during today, which has Christmas Day dry and generally fairly mild, so it will be interesting to see this evening's offerings...
It is a lovely morning here in Chatel, after a cold night which saw atmospheric conditions that were suitable for snowmaking, which was a nice bonus. The photo below shows how picturesque the resort is this morning, under its fresh cover of snow.
This morning's forecast suggested that, after a milder period this Friday and the weekend, things could cool down again over the Christmas period... so let's take a look at what the models are showing this morning...
Below are some snap shots of charts from the main models, with the "big 3" of ECMWF, GFS and UK Met Office up to the 144hr time frame and GFS, GFS Parallel and ECMWF for the 192hr time frame. All charts from the excellent Meteociel.fr website.
The first 6 charts show high pressure and mild air over North Africa and southern Europe, blocking any potential for colder air to filter into our area. Note that on the ECMWF chart at 144hrs, an area of low pressure to the east of the UK may bring down some colder, snowier air to us on Christmas Day. However, a glance at the other charts at the same time frame suggest this is far from certain and the visible differences between the charts at 192hrs does suggest that various scenarios could still emerge.
If the ECMWF charts are on the money, then a snowy Christmas Day might be followed by settled and fairly cold weather, which would probably be good news for the many visitors to the ski area, however, it is far too early to have any confidence in this outcome.
The GFS model this morning does bring in cooler air eventually, but a look at its ensembles show a considerable scatter beyond the 24th December, which confirms the high level of uncertainty for the Christmas period and beyond.
In summary, perhaps trending colder from Christmas Day, with the details still to be determined.
Next update expected during a trip to the ski area, which is planned for this afternoon, with a further update this evening.
Today's updates will appear here... first update expected at approx 10am with a look at what this morning's models are suggesting for Christmas...
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