Large winter storm set to sweep across southern Europe

Adam Douty

After Storm Bella walloped northwestern Europe this weekend, rain, snow and wind from the storm will sweep across southern Europe through the first half of the week.

Heavy rain can threaten flooding across the Mediterranean while over a meter (about 3 feet) of snow can fall across the Alps. Even lower elevations in the Po Valley can have disruptive snowfall to start the week.

"Another storm is set to impact southern Europe early this week, bringing multiple threats with it," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Isaac Longley.

The storm will first push a round of heavy snow and rain across the central and northern Mediterranean from Sunday night into Monday. Cold air in place in advance of the storm will lead to heavy snow across northern Italy, including in the Po Valley.

As of Monday afternoon, local time, snowfall totals of around 10-20 cm (4-8 inches) have been reported around Milan, located in northern Italy just south of the Alps. In nearby mountains, snowfall totals quick rise to around 30 cm (12 inches) and greater in higher elevations. This will likely lead to dangerous travel conditions and possible road closures into Monday night.

Snow even mixed down to sea level in Venice early on Monday morning. While lasting accumulations are not expected, there can be a brief slushy coating on elevated surface such as car tops.

Snow is expected to end across much of the Po Valley by Monday afternoon, though temperatures below freezing Monday night can lead to continued icy conditions.


Even heavier snow will fall across the Alps and Dinaric Alps through midweek with 30-60 cm (1-2 feet) expected to be widespread. As much as 120 cm (4 feet) of snow can accumulate in the hardest-hit areas.

Longely warned, "This heavy snow can close passes and lead to dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry."

Due to the low temperatures in place across the region, even lower elevations can have accumulating snow and travel disruptions.

Heavy rain can also bring threats across the region through the middle of the week as repeated rounds of rain fall across areas already saturated.

Flash flooding and mudslides can lead to road closures along the coast of the Adriatic Sea from southern Croatia to Montenegro and northern Albania. This area was battered by 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of rain over the weekend, so additional rain through Wednesday can heighten the flooding threat.

Through Wednesday, additional rainfall of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) is expected to inundate the western slopes of the Dinaric Alps, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ rainfall of 250 mm (10 inches) in western Montenegro.

Rounds of rain can also fall across central and southern Italy, though with rainfall expected to remain below 50 mm (2 inches) outside of the hardest-hit areas, the threat for flooding will be lower.

Areas that do not have threatening conditions from heavy snow or rain could have impacts from strong winds.

Longley added, "High winds of 80-100 km/h (50-60 mph) are expected to occur across central Italy, the Dinaric Alps and western parts of the Balkans. Winds of this magnitude can knock down trees and power lines, leading to power outages and travel disruptions."

The strongest wind is expected to occur on Monday across this region, though it will remain breezy into Tuesday.

As the early week storm winds down, an unsettled pattern may continue across southern and western Europe with another set to strengthen in the western Mediterranean late in the week.

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