Austria hit by record snowfall – and there’s more to come

Snow levels nationwide are at an almost ten-year high, with parts of Carinthia affected by power outages and up to 30 centimeters of snow in Burgenland as well as a thick coating in Vienna.

Skier in snow
There's heavy snow in eight of Austria's nine regions today. Photo: Christof Stache/AFP

Residents in the east and south east of Austria have woken up to the heaviest snowfall in nine years – with more forecast into the afternoon of Thursday, December 9th.

In Burgenland, up to 30 centimeters of snow fell overnight on Wednesday and power outages are impacting several hundred homes in Carinthia in the districts of St. Veit an der Glan, Spittal an der Drau and Villach-Land after nearly 40 centimetres of snow fell.

In the mountains, 20 to 40 centimeters of snow are reported to have fallen and, according to international weather service Ubimet, 50 to 60 centimeters of snow has already fallen in Vorarlberg, East Tyrol and Carinthia.

READ MORE: Where to find international food in Austria this Christmas

Even the capital city of Vienna has several centimeters of snow with many public transport routes delayed on Thursday morning.

Austria’s Centre for Severe Weather has issued its highest alerts for Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Carinthia and snow clearing vehicles have been out in force to keep roads in operation.

The Kronen Zeitung reports emergency services have been kept busy with cars stuck in snow, fallen trees and pedestrians falling on slippery streets.

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More snow is forecast across the country on Thursday, especially in the east and south east, while snowfall is expected to ease in the west in the afternoon.

Upper Austria is the only part of the country where heavy snowfall is not forecast. The western areas of the Danube and Linz have reportedly had a light coating of snow and up to 10 centimeters is expected in the province.

Looking ahead to the weekend, most parts of the country should have some sunshine on Friday morning, while snow could persist in the west. By the evening, snow could return to Upper Austria, Salzburg and East Tyrol.

According to Bergfex, more snow is forecast in the Alps on Saturday and Sunday, while in the east and south east it should be dry and sunny.

Do you have photos of the snow in your part of Austria? Share them with The Local and we will publish the best images. Please upload a photo using the form below, or send an email to us at [email protected].

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What are the chances of a white Christmas in Austria this year?

Yes, it's a bit early for Christmas weather forecasts, but it hasn't stopped meteorologists making predictions. Here's what they have to say about the possibility of snow in Austria this Christmas.

What are the chances of a white Christmas in Austria this year?

In less than a month it will be Christmas Eve and the suspense is rising on whether there will be a white Christmas, especially at low altitudes, broadcaster ORF said.

The weather models do not yet reach that far, but ORF Vorarlberg meteorologist Thomas Rinderer has looked at the statistics in a bid to predict the snowfall this year.

FOR MEMBERS: Everything that changes in Austria in December 2022

On average, there is a white Christmas in Bregenz every three to six years. The last time was in 2011, so statistically speaking, a white Christmas in the Rhine Valley would be more than overdue.

However, the first long-term forecasts see a relatively mild winter overall, so it’s unlikely that an extremely cold winter is imminent. This follows the warmest October in Austria since records began although, according to ORF meteorologists, “surprises are still possible”.

READ ALSO: Austrian Christmas traditions: The festive dates you need to know

This is because even in a mild winter there can still be a lot of snow. 

The Copernicus climate change service of the EU is predicting winter will be dry from France to Germany, but the Mediterranean area will be humid. This can lead to precipitation moving up from Italy into Austria where it’s likely to become snow.

Last year, some parts of Austria (especially in the west) enjoyed a white Christmas after a cold December and plenty of snowfall. This year, many regions in the Alps are already coated in snow although temperatures are set to rise next week.

We’ll keep you updated on the forecasts in the coming weeks.