A train of storms chugging across southern Europe will set the stage for flooding rainfall in southeastern France and northern Italy through early next week. Farther east, a persistent snowy pattern is expected to unfold for the Olympic venues around Sochi as storm systems run into cold air.
Flood Threat From Marseille to Venice
A string of storm systems Friday through Monday will bring several rounds of heavy rain to southeastern France as well as northern Italy.
The first round of wet weather is expected Friday with the heaviest rain anticipated across northern Italy, including the cities of Genoa, Milan, Turin and Verona. Many locations will receive 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) of rain from this first batch of moisture which can cause localized flooding.
Another blast of rain will target the region Saturday into Sunday. Locations from Nice and Cannes and along the French Riviera as well as all of northern Italy as far east as Venice should be drenched by another 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) of rain by Monday morning.
In total, 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of rain is expected across much of the region with localized amounts closer to 150 mm (6 inches) in the higher terrain. This prolonged period of rain, combined with already saturated ground from recent wet weather, will cause flooding.
Later next week, the focus of the rain should shift eastward into Croatia and along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. This should allow a drier regime to take hold of southern France and northern Italy.
Plenty of Snow Chances Leading up to Olympics
With an active storm track across southern Europe, a stream of moisture will be directed across the Black Sea and into southern Russia, including Sochi, the home to the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Bouts of coastal rain and mountain snow are expected through the end of January into the early part of February. Towards the end of January, it may turn cold enough along the coast to get snow in the city of Sochi as well as the Olympic venues south of the city. Plenty of snow should fall over the next few weeks in the mountains, home to the skiing and sliding sports.
Sochi is similar in climate to Vancouver, Canada, the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Milder marine air influences the lower elevations near the coast, but inland locations much higher in elevation are cold enough to support snow through much of the winter.