• The Chatel Snow Report

20/11/2019: Today's Updates... 5.00pm... Is A Foehn Or Super Foehn On The Way?...


Les Crosets is hoping to open 2 lifts this weekend, with access via the cable car from Champery. The forecast strength of the wind on Saturday may put this in doubt, but fingers crossed this partial opening happens.


An end of day view... after the "F" word laden post below!


The "F" word is never welcome on these pages, however, unfortunately, it looks like taking centre stage later this week, so you may see it used quite alot.

The "F" word in question is the dreaded foehn.

In November 2016, after some excellent falls of snow in the first half of November, the mountainsides were literally stripped of their snow by a foehn wind event. During the period from the 23rd to 24th November 2016, daytime temperatures reached 16C and overnight temperatures were near to 15C. As has been mentioned on these pages, the event was like having a hair dryer blowing across the area for the best part of a couple of days!

Are we about to see a repeat of this unwanted weather phenomenom?

The answer is... possibly.

A look at one of the charts for that period in 2016 shows the synoptic set up for that "super" foehn.

A look at the forecast charts for Friday night / Saturday, shows some rather concerning similarities...

So, although these Foehn events are a bit fickle in terms of predicting their potency, it does look as though we will see one and, it will have a chance of being a potent one.

As was mentioned on a previous post, the pistes which have already been partly prepared in the PLJ area should prove to be fairly resilient, however, areas of natural snow could take a real pounding if this foehn arrives and is followed by a few days of mild weather, which is what is currently being predicted by the models.

7.45am: Bonjour from a clear and chilly Chatel.

There looks like there is a bit of a temperature inversion this morning, with some cold temperatures in the valley, however, conditions higher up look as though they have been less suitable for snow making.

As mentioned yesterday evening, a milder theme is on the way and there is a growing chance of a notable foehn event arriving later this week. This warm / dry wind can cause havoc with the snow cover, particularly when combined with cloud. The chart below from the Arpege model shows that we may be in the firing line. This chart is a snap shot for early Saturday, with the numbers the wind gusts in km/h, however, foehn conditions could start during the day on Friday, before easing by Sunday. More on this later...

Chart from the excellent meteociel.fr

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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