Tag Archives: weather

The winter of 2017-18

In theory we have passed into Spring now. It doesn’t feel like it, and we have more snow down to the lower valleys forecast for the weekend. I have heard people complaining about the amount of sunny days we have had. It seems they are right. This has been the second “darkest” winter since WWII.

Meteonews has written up a summary of the numbers for this winter. The bottom line is that it has been extreme, we’ve had everything (except sun) high temperatures, low temperatures, precipitation.  Many weather records have been broken.


Overall the temperature has been pretty much average compared to the records. However that masks the fact that January was one of the warmest on record, followed by a cold February. It just shows that an “average” figure can hide the reality quite effectively.


December and January had exceptional amounts of  rain (and snow), only beaten 7 times in the last 70 years. I’ve tried to find historical comparisons but we might have to wait until they are published. Meteonews mentions record amounts of snow with up to 7m that has fallen in some spots.


The bad weather has restricted the number of days suitable for venturing far from the pistes, this has meant that the accidents have come all at the same time on the few sunny days. So far there have been 25 people who have died in avalanches in France, with 3 missing (presumed dead), this is about average compared to previous years. An example of how they have all come at once happened over the weekend of the 3/4 of March.  See this article on Piste Hors. Full details of all the incidents are on the Anena website.

Snow Forecast for the Alps

Looking for an accurate snow forecast for the Alps? There are many to choose from, all if which give a different view. I am an avid weather watcher and find that using a wide range of tools gives me a pretty good idea of what the weather will be up to. In fact scrap “snow forecast” and swap for “precipitation forecast”, it doesn’t always snow!

The first place I go to is Chamonix Meteo:


this forecast is compiled by an amateur forecaster for the Chamonix valley. You’ll find this forecast pinned up in the shops and sometimes Tourist Offices too. Much to the dismay of France Meteo who would prefer the local commerces pay for their weather forecast! This weather forecast is often updated twice a day, sometime around 8am and then again at 6pm. Its got a good English translation too.

Another amateur set-up is Météo Léman, as you might guess from the title, it is good for those of us based in the Chablais and the Jura too. In fact you are as well just subscribing to their Facebook page as they post more updates on there.


The next website I head to is Snow Forecast (.com):


these guys provide animated maps and also a longer (pay) forecast, I used to pay for this longer forecast but don’t need to any more, thanks to the other websites further down the list. If you read too much into the snow depth numbers you might be disappointed. I find one of the most useful bits of this forecast is the temperature (freezing level) graph. Clearly visible here. This weekend it looks like we will need to wear shorts!

snow forecast

For a longer range forecast I head to MeteoBlue 


this website gives a nice graphical representation of the weather, but as you can see the temperature graph looks quite different from the one above. It’s because they include the diurnal variation, more accurate but less intuitive.

meteo blue

MeteoBlue is full of other useful representations too. This one is on the “14 day” tab. It’s for the same period as the previous screenshots. I think from this we can be sure of a little precipitation on Friday but that the week after there is a 50% chance it will be unsettled (so that doesn’t really tell us much after the weekend).

14 day

Don’t forget the weather radar either. These give a real time view and predictions for the precipitation over the coming hours. France Meteo and Meteo Swiss are the source of this data. I tend to use the Swiss one:


these are only interesting when there is precipitation, not that great as I am writing this. Though it does look like it’s raining over the Ligurian coast of Italy just now.


The Avalanche forecast gives a sober report of the actual snow conditions and an unbiased assessment of snow depth, recent snow falls and a prediction for the next day. This comes out at about 4pm each day with a forecast for the next day, it’s regional too, so for the Haute Savoie it is split into Aravis / Chablais / Mont Blanc.


avy report

We are getting a bit more in depth here. On MeteoBlue you have access to more than a dozen versions of the forecast. Sometimes you may hear people talk about the Multimodel forecasts, GFS Forecasts, (the wiggly lines), these are the source of all these weather forecasts, basically the various weather forecasting authorities run their mathematical models and these forecasts try and pull them all together. The more the lines follow each other, the more the models agree and the more reliable the forecast. Here is a link to the MeteoBlue Multimodel:



Wunderground is an interesting site. It aggregates all the personal weather stations that you can buy and connect to the web. You can’t always trust these have been well sited but the results can be interesting. It’s information like this that means the likes of Apple and Google can now tell you the actual temperature outside via your phone. Quite bizarre but very accurate. 


weather map

More resources.

Snow depths from around the Alps, temperatures and recent snow fall too.


Every link you can imagine on the subject, all the Alps and Switzerland.


The webcams, of which there are now hundreds to choose from. I’ll include the ones I use for the Portes du Soliel.

Têtes (St Jean d’Aulps, pictured below) http://m.webcam-hd.com/vallee-d-aulps/roc-d-enfer

Tete at St Jean d'Aulps

Pointe des Mossettes http://portesdusoleil.livecam360.net/

Avoriaz http://avoriaz.roundshot.com/ 

Chavannes (Les Gets) http://m.webcam-hd.com/lesgets/lesgets_chavannes

Mt Chery http://m.webcam-hd.com/lesgets/les_gets_sommet-chery

Lac de Montriond http://m.webcam-hd.com/vallee-d-aulps/lac-montriond

Linderets http://m.webcam-hd.com/vallee-d-aulps/les-lindarets

Plateau St Jean d’Aulps http://m.webcam-hd.com/vallee-d-aulps/plateau-st-jean-d-aulps/