We have all heard sayings for predicting (with varying degrees of reliability) the weather for the next few hours. For example, in the plains, it is reputed that when the swallows fly low, bad weather is not far away or if the hot wind blows on the Alpine lakes, the waters will soon be unleashed.

But what about in the mountains? How to be a budding meteorologist (or rather on skis) and why not impress your friends?

There are some warning signs passed down from generation to generation...we are going to reveal some secrets from our elders!

Hats off to Peclet, soon at the chalet!

Also called “the headdress” or “the donkey”, this phenomenon is characterized by a cloud in the shape of an inverted saucer on the highest peaks. If you observe that this cloud gradually descends to envelop the mountain it overlooks, there is a good chance that a disturbance will soon arrive!
The summit of Peclet is generally the first to be capped when humidity gains altitude. It is also indicative of stormy winds at high altitudes.

Did you know ?
A few kilometers from here, in the Chamonix valley, the ancients supplemented this observation with the saying “If Verte does not want, Mont-Blanc cannot”. This meant that if the cap did not descend to the height of the Aiguille Verte (4 m), the disturbance announced on Mont Blanc (122 m) would only have been a false alarm.

Lentils on the horizon, breathtaking wind uncle!

Slightly different from the headdress, the lenticulars (or if you are having a family meal “altocumulus lenticularis”) are signs of strong winds on the summits.
To form, these atypical clouds need the meeting of two air masses, violent winds and mountains. In our regions, the lens shape may not be very pronounced, which does not alleviate the phenomenon.

Did you know ?
For many years, these strange shapes above the mountains have fueled the local imagination. Some even perceived an extraterrestrial sign with the presence of flying saucers!

Haute Maurienne lenticulars
Haute Maurienne lenticulars

Well formed sea, sunny day!

You get up in the morning and a sea of ​​clouds stretches out before you! Apart from the camera that you will grab immediately to immortalize this extraordinary landscape, we can advise you to quickly take out your skis and use sunscreen... without moderation.
This characteristic phenomenon of mountain valleys is created by a thermal inversion phenomenon. The cold, “heavier” air comes down from the mountains to accumulate in the valley. The winter sun, too weak to warm this air mass, does not allow the humidity of the valley to evaporate, which condenses and forms a sea of ​​clouds.

Did you know ?
During this phenomenon, it is generally colder in the valley than at altitude where the temperatures are much more pleasant.


Mountain that smokes, sun that presumes!

Observable throughout the Alps, this phenomenon is particularly impressive for isolated mountains. It materializes as cloud smoke present only on one side of the mountain. The cause ? Not the imminent awakening of a forgotten volcano but a mini-depression caused by the passage of the wind on the wake of the ridge which, cooling the air, causes saturation with humidity.
But rest assured, this phenomenon heralds the most radiant weather (still remain vigilant, in the mountains the weather is not an exact science).

Did you know ?
Particularly impressive around the Matterhorn (CH) or the needles of the Mont-Blanc massif, this phenomenon has given rise to numerous nicknames from local populations. Thus, in the Chamonix valley, it is said that “La Verte fume” when clouds form on one side of the Aiguille Verte.


Pink horizon, sunscreen in the basket!

This evening the horizon is all pink! If there are no clouds, you can sleep peacefully and prepare your sunscreen for the next day...good weather is forecast.
However, be careful, conversely, if the sky turns yellow or blue, there is a good chance that a disturbance will occur during the night.

Did you know ?
In the 1800s, there were sayings that a pink sky meant a volcano was erupting in southern Europe...legends that can still be heard in the evenings by the fire!


However, be careful, the weather changes very quickly in the mountains and it is always important to check with professionals.
You can also consult the weather page to know in more detail the weather conditions of your favorite station!


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