Cold and unsettled weather in Europe

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  • Amount of accumulated snowfall over the Alps from Saturday to Friday. Credit: MeteoGroup.

  • Cold and unsettled weather in Europe
    29.04.2017 17:49

    This week saw a return to wintry weather across many parts of Europe as an active cold front pushed south across the continent, introducing much colder and unsettled conditions. Significant snowfall was experienced across the Alps with some parts seeing over 100cm of snow this week. Snowfall also brought accumulations to lower levels in parts of central Europe, including southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

    The cold weather also brought widespread frosts overnight. Some vineyard farmers had to resort to lighting fires in buckets to try and prevent frost damage in France and Switzerland, while heavy frost damage was reported in Italy.

    On Wednesday and Thursday, torrential rainfall was seen in the mountains of north-west Slovenia. The weather station at Vogel Ski Resort, 1535m above sea level, recorded nearly 500mm of rain in 48 hours. This was caused by a moist south-westerly flow of air across the Adriatic Sea which when driven upslope into the mountains brought enhanced rainfall. This has resulted in very high river levels and flooding in the region over the past couple of days.

    Unsettled conditions also affected Italy, particularly in the north, with heavy rain and thunderstorms. A tornado was also reported on Thursday, near Ferrara in northern Italy, which brought localised damage.  

    Early in the week, severe thunderstorms were also seen in Spain, particularly in the north and east, bringing large hail and over 6000 lightning strikes were recorded in two days.

    Outlook over the next week
    Further unsettled weather is expected at times over the next week, especially across France and central Europe. It will remain fairly chilly at times for central Europe with further snowfall expected over the Alps. This is likely to bring another 30-40cm of mountain snow, quite widely, over the next five days, with up to 70cm possible in a few spots. However, it should become warmer across western France and Spain, especially later in the week, although with the risk of showers and thunderstorms here towards the weekend.

    By: Callum Stewart