It came all of a sudden overnight: Winter is here! And more violently than it has been in a long time. A massive peripheral depression, which stretched from Italy via Hungary towards Poland on Thursday, and a cold-weather front that has slowly shifted from the west to the east, wrap the whole of Austria in snow-white robes. That means not only freezing cold but above all snow chaos in large parts of the country! “Such a striking snow event in the eastern and south-eastern flatlands last happened in winter 2012/2013 and thus almost ten years ago,” comments Manfred Spatzierer, chief meteorologist at the Ubimet storm center.
Even if there is an intermediate high on Friday, the next cold front will appear in the west in the second half of the day, so winter will continue to have a frosty grip on Austria on Saturday.
How much snow is “as much snow as there hasn’t been for (almost) ten years”? Well, the weather models show ten centimeters of fresh snow for Vienna’s inner city, and around the federal capital it will be exponentially more: In Northern Burgenland, the Weinviertel and also the higher regions of Vienna, even up to 30 centimeters are expected. “We were surprised ourselves because the model calculations only developed in this direction this morning. Even if something changes here, the regions mentioned will have to reckon with 15 centimeters of fresh snow during the day, ”explains Michele Salmi, also a meteorologist at Ubimet, and adds:“ That will be strong. ”
Heavy snowfalls in the east of Austria mean even more severe snowstorms in the west of the country. There meteorologists now expect between 30 to 50 centimeters of fresh snow up to 400 to 500 meters. “In the area of the Carnic Alps, that is, on the border with Italy, it could even be 60 to 70 centimeters,” says Salmi. In the northern Alps, 30 to 50 centimeters are expected. In East Tyrol and the rest of Carinthia, 20 to 40 centimeters.
The snowpack is only expected to be more subtle in the western Danube region around Linz, but the current snow situation in the country is definitely a special event: From a climatological point of view, the fact that a snowpack covers all of Austria at the beginning of December only happens about every five years.
Today, Thursday, it is snowing as well as in all of Austria, the focus is quickly shifting from the south to the east of the country and the northern Alps also fall frequently and a lot of snow! Especially in the eastern flatlands it snows heavily at times – traffic chaos on the roads is therefore preprogrammed due to increasingly wintry conditions, caution is advised!
Due to the heavy snowfall, the Austrian Severe Weather Center (UWZ) announced the highest weather warning level for western Austria (Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Carinthia) in the early hours of the morning. In the rest of the federal states there is the red weather warning level.
From midday the clouds loosen up in the south and with a little time delay also in the far west. In the evening, snow continues to fall in the northeast, but the intensity is decreasing. The wind freshened up from the eastern edge of the Alps to the Seewinkel, moderately to briskly from the northwest, in exposed locations snow drifts are possible here. In the night from Thursday to Friday, the snowfall also gradually subsides from Salzburg eastwards, and the clouds finally loosen up in large parts of the country.
On Friday the sun shines from time to time, especially in the north and east. In the southern basin there is fog or high fog in parts and in the west clouds are already gathering in the morning. In the course of the afternoon, it gradually begins to snow in Vorarlberg, and rain can occasionally mix in at the lowest altitudes. From the Inn valley eastwards, however, it initially remains dry, in the evening the snowfall spreads to Salzburg.
Saturday brings mostly dry winter weather in the south and east and the sun occasionally comes out in the extreme south. On the other hand, along the northern Alps and in the north, there are a few snow showers or, in the deepest regions, snow showers.