Another mass of extremely cold air has hit the Alps, with snowfalls occurring to low levels, and the intense weather is expected to continue for much of the week. MountainWatch has declared it to be ‘the storm of the season’, even better than the ‘Blizzard of Oz’. Apart from lots of fresh, the current storm does bring blizzard conditions, the possibility of lightning in some areas, and the likelihood of increased avalanche risk on steeper slopes.

According to a story in The Age:

Snow is expected to fall down to 300 metres between Monday and Wednesday, which means a sprinkle of snow across the Dandenong Ranges, Macedon Ranges, and Kinglake.

“It would be the lowest snow level for the season,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Richard Carlyon said.

A severe weather warning has been issued across most of Victoria, with damaging winds, showers and thunderstorms expected.

The warning is likely to remain in place on Tuesday.

“With the strong winds, heavy snow, wind gusts up to 100km/h in association with showers and thunderstorm activity, there are blizzard-like conditions through today and tomorrow,” Mr Carlyon said.

“Later in the week we’re expecting fresh to strong winds, but the strongest winds for the week are likely today and tomorrow.

Significantly there is a heightened avalanche risk as this new snowfall lands on sun and rain affected snowpack. The Age report says:

“There is increased risk of avalanches in back country alpine areas due to the forecast heavy snowfalls and strong winds,” the warning said.

“Cold temperatures, further snowfalls and persistent wind will prolong the risk of avalanches until mid to late week.”

The snowpack is generally very stable at present but do be careful on steeper and wind loaded slopes over the next week.

For updates on conditions in the backcountry check the reports on the Mountain Sports Collective website.

This top up should see us skiing well into October (MountainWatch is calling this month #snowtember). Falls Creek has announced it will extend its ski season until October 8 and the cover in higher backcountry areas is fantastic.

Have fun, take care on the roads, and stay safe out there.