Ski resorts hoping to make up for last year’s covid-hit season, are finding themselves bereft of snow. Some areas of the Alps are recording temperatures of 15C at 1,600 metres.
A high-pressure anticyclone has moved to France and Italy, causing alpine rescuers to warn of avalanche risks.
The Guardian reports meteorologist Luca Mercalli as saying, “At the moment it is about 15C in areas of the Alps at an altitude of 1,600 metres and is not hitting zero beneath 4,000 metres. It hasn’t even been freezing at night – the temperature has not dropped below 10 degrees, and this is very unusual.”
Too warm for snow
Forecasters report temperatures in some of Italy’s best-known ski resorts will be 13-15C above the seasonal norm on New Year’s Day. The warmer weather will last until 3 January.
Ski resorts at an altitude of up to 2,000 metres are bereft of snow. “And they can’t produce artificial snow as the temperature is too warm,” said Mercalli.
The Italian alpine rescue service advises skiers to regularly check weather bulletins due to the risk of avalanches. “The elevated temperature combined with strong winds create the conditions for avalanches,” Mercalli said.
The rest of Italy is also experiencing abnormally warm conditions, with a high of 18C expected in Rome on Saturday and 22C in the Sicilian city of Catania by the middle of next week.
2021 – a year of weather extremes
Italy saw extreme weather throughout 2021. In August, Siracusa in Sicily broke the European record for the highest temperature, reaching 48.8C. The country suffered from heatwaves, forest fires, storms and floods.
In October, 20 severe weather events lashed Italy in one day. Those included tornadoes, hailstorms, and torrential rainfall.
The storms “devastated fields, pastures, stables and agricultural vehicles as well as blocking roads and causing landslides and landslides in the countryside,” the agriculture association Coldiretti said.