UPDATED: What are the chances of a white Christmas in Austria this year?
It's not quite Christmas yet, but it hasn't stopped meteorologists making predictions about whether snow will fall in Austria on Christmas Day. Here's what the experts have to say.
In just 10 days it will be Christmas and the suspense is rising on whether there will be a white Christmas this year.
The latest reports from the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) say the chance of falling snow at lower elevations on Christmas day has fallen to 60 per cent.
This is mostly due to climate change, especially in the lowlands in the east of Austria, reports Der Standard.
Alexander Orlik from ZAMG said: "Of course there are large fluctuations from year to year, but in the long term the trend towards ever milder temperatures at Christmas is clearly recognisable.
"If you compare the average temperature on December 24, 25 and 26 in the period from1961 to 1990 with the period from 1991 to 2020, then the provincial capitals of Austria, for example, have warmed by around one to two and a half degrees."
The forecasts for the middle of next week already predict warmer temperatures than Austria is currently experiencing, with plus degrees even expected on many mountains. Although the possibility of a cold front moving in shortly before Christmas has not been ruled out.
However, the best chances for a white Christmas this year are in Salzburg and Innsbruck - two cities that experience a white Christmas every two to three years.
Just a few weeks ago, the first long-term forecasts predicted a relatively mild winter overall for Austria, but ORF meteorologists said "surprises are still possible".
Since then, parts of Austria have experienced heavy snowfall and extreme low temperatures, with -21 recorded in St Jakob, East Tyrol, on Tuesday morning, reports Kronen Zeitung.
Winter weather forecast for Europe
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 with temperatures remaining low.
We'll keep you updated on the forecasts over the coming days.