The weather this winter has been unprecedented, at least in the corner of the north-west of England from where I type this. In common with most of Britain the meteorological winter here has been harsh, bearing much of the brunt of the jet-stream being positioned exactly in the right place to cause the maximum disruption. In an average winter – I use the term loosely as we’ve not actually had archetypal winter weather but one long autumn – we could perhaps expect two or three episodes of extremely high-winds but having long since lost count, from the first week of December onwards I would estimate a dozen severe weather systems have passed through, with more to come this weekend.

I have always been interested in meteorology and this last two and a half months have proved to be fascinating and at times frightening, almost in equal measure. Whilst my interest in the jet-stream has been piqued and any ignorance on the subject now a thing of the past, I have always kept a close-eye on what the weather held for the alpine regions, not just for when one of my sojourns to the mountains was forthcoming. The weather in the Alps can be equally as absorbing, where the classic ‘four seasons in one day’ are a regular occurrence. There are plenty of websites to choose from and whilst most of them are designed to give a meteorological overview of the whole country and therefore not specifically for the alpine tourist, most if not all of my favoured sites have rubrics that direct the viewer to a forecast just for the mountains. Such examples of this are: (Gora/gore/gorski roughly translates as mountain; vreme transcribes as weather).

Vreme 24 mountain-weather (as above) – this site provides pan-European alerts for extreme weather; an outstanding site where you simply click on the country of your choice to find out the latest colour-coded warnings for every type of weather imaginable.

ORF mountain weather (Bergwetter literally means mountain weather).

Of course, umbrella-webcam sites such as Feratel and Panomax can give you a forecast for the particular resort that you are visiting, often highlighting great contrasts in conditions in areas only a few miles apart.

Extreme weather has finally arrived in central and Eastern Europe, where, notwithstanding the fact it is more expected there, the recent conditions in Slovenia have been severe. Slovenia, despite its mountainous topography either gets a lot of snow or often, barely any or none at all. Heavily influenced by the nearby Adriatic and beyond there the Mediterranean, winters can often be relatively mild, especially when the Foehn wind kicks in. With all this in mind it is therefore shocking to see how badly the country has recently been hit, with a reported 80% of the country’s trees being damaged in some way. In a country that pound-for-pound is the third most forested country in Europe, that equates to a lot of trees. Nothing exemplifies the sheer amount of snow that has recently fallen than this webcam at altitude, at Kredarica:

Kredarica buried in snow

Whilst I obviously wish the Slovenian ski-industry a prosperous winter, it is unfortunate that the country now seems to have too much snow. Firstly, the Women’s Slalom from Maribor was cancelled due to the lack of snow. Moved to Kranjska Gora, it then found too much snow. A winter in Slovenia, in a nutshell.