27th August 2023
The third heatwave of the summer in the Alps is over with record-breaking summer temperatures seen. The temperatures have fallen sharply with snow in some high-altitude ski areas. NEW
There have been two weeks of high summer temperatures that have taken their toll on the glaciers.
At one point the freezing level was way above the highest of the alpine peaks at 5,298m.
In Switzerland it was the third warmest summer since temperature records began.
Geneva recorded a temperature of 39.3°C (102.74 °F).
According to MeteoSwiss, this was the highest temperature ever recorded in August on the northern side of the Alps and in canton Valais.
It was similar in Austria, France and Italy.
We reported on it here:
The authorities urged climbers and hikers to be careful with rockfalls predicted and crevasses opening up on glaciers.
So far this year, 17 people have lost their lives in the mountains in the Valais region.
That’s more than the annual total in each of the past five years.
Now the temperatures have fallen with heavy rain falling and it is forecast for the next few days – that will likely be snow at altitude.
There has already been a dusting.
“The weather is now on the change though, with lots of rain expected across the Alps over the next few days,” said the alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin, from Weathertoski.co.uk.
“There will also be some snow up on the glaciers, especially early in the week, when 50cm or more is possible above 3,000m in places, including above Zermatt and Saas-Fee.”
Four glacier areas in the Alps remain open: Hintertux in Austria, Zermatt in Switzerland that can also be reached from Cervinia in Italy, Saas-Fee in Switzerland and Passo Stelvio in Italy.
PlanetSKI was in Hintertux back in June for summer skiing, but there are now just 2kms of slopes open with a reported snow depth of 20cm at the top of the ski area.
Some glacier areas are setting their opening dates, with Pitztal in the Tirol in Austria planning to open some slopes later this month on September 23rd.
Here at PlanetSKI we’ll keep you posted on the forecast snow this week.
Lower down the mountains is heavy rain.
According to the SRF meteorologist, Daniela Schmuki, landslides and flooding are possible.
Do check back for updates…