Yesterday staff at Passo Tonale in Italy were removing artificial covers placed on their local Presena glacier, now common at many Alpine areas, to protect it from the worst of the summer heat, ahead of this weekend’s snowfall.
Their timing was good as heavy snowfall has now been reported on glaciers in the Alps. The snow is expected to keep falling through the weekend with some areas forecast to get up to 60cm (two feet) of snow up high by Monday.
This morning the Stubai glacier in the Austrian Tirol, one of those likely to open for its 9-10 month 2019-20 season later this month, said it had had 10cm of fresh snow so far (pictured below).
Currently only five glaciers are currently open for snowsports in Europe, a record low number for the past 50 years, with at least two that want to be open temporarily closed due to record summer heat thawing snow cover from the ice. So the snow will come as a relief in many areas.
Snow at high elevations in the Alps in late summer/early autumn is quite normal at this time of year. Last year there were heavy snowfalls in late August and by the end of September several glaciers had had more than a metre of September snowfall in total.