Amazingly long streak of Föhn days

It’s quite amazing lately how much Föhn we have in the northern Alps around Zell am See Kaprun and how much snow the higher Italian Alps get. Normally one would expect a Föhn episode to last a maximum of two full days but lately it just keeps coming! This week the strong southerly wind over the main chain of the Alps has blown Tuesday already, it’s full on strong today and then after a short interruption on Thursday it’s back for 3 full days in which nobody will be flying.

One of the ways for paraglides to judge the danger of Föhn is to look at a so called “Föhn diagram” which gives the normalised pressure difference between a weather station on the south side of the Alps and one on the north side. For our region we look mostly at Bolzano – Innsbruck. If the graph goes above 4hPa we know we have to be careful. This is rarely the case for more than 36 hours in a row, but look above and be amazed at such a long no-paragliding phase.

Well let’s enjoy the images of the strong snowfall on the Italian side of the Alps. Nobody is flying there either of course. But on the North we often have fair weather with Föhn and that makes it tricky since wind speeds can make big jumps from a safe 20kmh to a sudden burst of 70kmh. So usually we don’t fly on those days. An experienced tandem pilot however may decide that for a given hour a flight can still be done…. and not rarely they can be really nice flights then. But not this weekend!

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