Mammatus clouds illuminated by the setting sun after the thunderstorm moved east in the Austrian city of Innsbruck . The temperature dropped from an afternoon high of 87ºF to the low 60s after the storm passed.

Weather enthusiasts would agree that there’s just no taking a break from staring at the sky – even when on vacation. That’s just what I did last month while traveling through France, Switzerland, and Austria for a family wedding.

Central Europe saw an interesting mix of weather in August: first mild and spring-like, then hot and sunny, followed by a more unsettled pattern due to a slow-moving cold front from the North Sea. This unstable weather regime coincided with my visit to the Austrian Alps, providing an opportunity to photograph some impressive cloudscapes.

Today I thought I’d share some recent European weather in photos…

The first few photos capture a gusty Alpine thunderstorm I got caught in two weeks ago in the Austrian city of Innsbruck (elevation 1880 ft – see map).

The last few photos I took two days later after temperatures cooled down to the upper 60s and low 70s. Lingering low pressure kept clouds well below the mountain peaks. Enjoy!

All photos by author

Almost without warning, dark clouds and a gust front approach Innsbruck, Austria on Aug. 22, 2012.

After a warm, sunny afternoon, skies quickly darkened as the storm approached from the northwest.

Ominous nimbostratus clouds moving southeast in Innsbruck, Austria. I was already soaking wet at the time of this photo, unfortunately without umbrella!

Storm clouds interspersed with brighter skies over the Nordkette range of the Alps in Innsbruck at 8 p.m. on Aug. 22.

As the rain finally diminished, clouds in the western sky remained illuminated by the setting sun.

Collapsing cumulus congestus over the Inn River (Innsbruck) as the thunderstorm moved east over the Alps.

The following morning sunny, blue skies returned to Innsbruck.

A line of low-hanging clouds straddles the Alps along the Inn River on the morning of Aug. 23. The temperature was a beautiful 68 degrees around 11 a.m.

Low-hanging stratocumulus clouds near Fliess, western Austria (see map). Photo taken from an elevation of 4134 ft. The temperature that morning (Aug. 24) was in the mid-50s.

Upper Inn Valley, Austria: Low pressure easily kept the cloud deck below 4,000 feet.

Low-hanging stratocumulus clouds against a backdrop of Austria’s Lechtaler Alps.

As the sun slowly emerged, afternoon temperatures rose to about 72 degrees. But the low-hanging clouds remained stubborn for the rest of the weekend.


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