Winter weather set to make a comeback in Austria

Just as thermometers reached double digits, cooler temperatures are about to hit Austria again, and the Alps could see fresh snow over the weekend.

Winter weather set to make a comeback in Austria
The Schoenbrunn Palace is seen during snowfall in Vienna on January 23, 2023. (Photo by Alex HALADA / AFP)

Austrians were ready to embrace spring weather, with temperatures reaching 20C in the last couple of days. However, winter is about to make a comeback at least for now, according to the forecast of Geosphere Austria, the country’s meteorologic institute.

Initially, it will be very mild once again, but from Friday, the weather will become more unsettled and a significant cooling is expected, with rain or snow on the northern side of the Alps. 

Particularly on Monday it will cool down even further and it will be stormy in most parts of the country, the institute said.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Der Blitzfrühling

Cloudy weekend

Saturday will alternate with sun and a few denser clouds until the evening. Especially in the mountainous and hilly areas, rain showers are to be expected with a snow line around 1,500 metres above sea level.

Early temperatures will range from 2C to 1C, with daytime highs from 11C to 17C.

READ ALSO: Top tips to protect yourself from storms in Austria

From the west, more clouds will move in on Sunday and especially in the mountains there will be some showers, and there could be more rain in the afternoon.

In the evening, clouds will begin to break up in the west. Winds will be light to moderate, and at higher altitudes it will be brisk. Early temperatures will range from 1C to 8C, with daytime highs from 9C to 18C.

Sunny but cold spells on Monday

Clouds will continue to move through on Monday, with sunny spells. On the northern side of the Alps, the clouds will remain mostly dense all day and it will rain or snow, the snow line will drop from initially around 700 metres to low elevations. 

Away from the northern areas, there will be short showers. The wind is set to shift from west to northwest and it could even be stormy. Early temperatures will only reach -1C to 7C, with daily highs of 4C to 13C. Lower temperatures are expected on the northern side of the Alps. The highest temperatures are in the southeast.

READ ALSO: Colds and flu: What to do and say if you get sick in Austria

On Tuesday, the weather calms down a bit, with fewer clouds and storms. However, on the northern side of the Alps, dense clouds will persist and it will still snow at times. Away from the mountains, short showers will continue with some bursts of sunshine.

The snow line will be at low altitudes, in the west it will gradually rise to around 400 metres in the afternoon. Early temperatures of -6C to 0C and daytime highs of 4C to 8C are expected. 

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190,000 lightning strikes: Storms cause chaos in Austria, with more on the way

Austria’s recent summer storms have been so intense that they're making headlines - and more are forecast on the way. 

190,000 lightning strikes: Storms cause chaos in Austria, with more on the way

Weather service UBIMET recorded over 190,000 lightning strikes across the country on Saturday – the highest number on record this year. 

Accompanying hail, rain and wind also caused chaos across the country. 

More than 5,000 acres of agricultural land were completely devastatedby hailstones in the state of Vorarlberg, costing local farmers approximately 1.2 million euros. 

In Styria, flooding caused significant numbers of residents to be evacuated near Krottendorf-Gaisfeld, southwest of Graz. 

On Friday, emergency services across the Salzburg region were deluged with calls as rivers burst and landslides blocked roads. 

More storms coming

While conditions are mostly fine and warm across the country on Tuesday, meteorologists warn that more severe weather is on the way

ORF’s weather portal indicates that storms may develop across Upper Styria and Lower Austria as the day progresses, despite the heat. 

Styria, Lower Austria and Carinthia will continue to be the focus of more storms, centred mainly on alpine areas into Wednesday, before the country gets another respite on Thursday and Friday. 

The weekend may see the return of storms and hail across much of the country. 

Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) also regularly issues severe weather warnings via their website, and you can see current warnings in effect here

How do I keep myself (and my home) safe from severe weather? 

Much of the advice to stay safe when severe strikes in Austria is simple common sense – however, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

First, Austria’s alpine geography, and the concentration of communities and roads along river valleys means that driving can be a far riskier proposition thanks to the threat of flash flooding and landslides. 

Knowing this, when faced with the prospect of severe weather, it’s highly recommended to stay put and keep your car parked in a secure spot. 

READ MORE: How to protect yourself during storm season in Austria

Second, a considerable number of Austrian homes have cellars – something not as common in other countries. 

In areas close to rivers or lakes, or close to mountains, cellars can quickly become flooded when rivers burst their banks, or landslides occur. 

While storms – particularly in the summer – can be quite intense, it’s a very good idea to stay out of the cellar during these conditions. 

As for your home, there’s not much you can do when faced with extreme natural conditions – but you can prepare for the worst.

Homeowner or building insurance (‘Eigenheimversicherung’) is obligatory in Austria, while household or home contents insurance (‘Haushaltversicherung’) is not.

Home insurance covers the structure and fittings of your home, while contents cover your possessions. 

READ MORE: Haushaltversicherung: How does Austria’s home insurance work?

If you are renting, home insurance will be taken out by your landlord. 

Many insurance will offer both home and contents insurance as a package.