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Olympics

Issued: 7:27 AM PST Friday, December 29, 2017
by Garth Ferber

As rainfall increases and moves to higher elevations on Thursday, watch for deepening saturated surface snow and avoid consequential terrain features. 

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  • Low (1)
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  • Extreme (5)

Avalanche Problems for Friday

Loose Weti

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Wind Slabi

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Forecast for Friday:

A second storm (Friday) on the heels of the first (Thursday), will bring significantly more precipitation and further warming than the initial system. A surface low will track across across Cape Flattery and a cold front will move across the Olympics Friday afternoon to evening. This will cause moderate SE winds shifting to SW on Thursday at Hurricane, with further warming and increasing rain at Hurricane.

The extent and size of loose wet snow avalanches at Hurricane will depend a lot on the amount on rain received there on Thursday. At higher elevations which have received more snowfall, the loose wet slides will be larger and more dangerous. Watch for initial pinwheels, surface wet snow deeper than a few inches and initial small natural loose wet avalanches that indicated and increasing loose wet avalanche danger.

A little further wind slab development may seen above treeline on Thursday. Watch for possible slightly building wind slab on a variety of aspects above treeline as winds directions shift during the storm.

Also despite all the new snow, early season hazards still exist at some lower elevation locales and especially around creek beds that are not filled in.

Avalanche Summary:

At Hurricane Ridge, the frontal system arriving Thursday brought light snow  with temperatures just below freezing, with light to occasionally moderate SW winds.

Light snow also accumulated during a series of very weak weather disturbances that traversed the area in about the past week. 

The previous significant storm and snowfall was was 12/19-12/20.

Observations

On Wednesday, a shallow loose dry avalanche on a northwest aspect in the Tunnel Path above the road ran 100 feet and knocked a skier off his feet. A pit nearby showed right-side-up snow.

A second hand report of at least one human triggered loose dry avalanche (sluff) caught a skier(s) on Sunday 12/25. No injuries were reported. 

NWAC pro observer Matt Schonwald was at Hurricane Ridge on Saturday 12/24 and reported evidence of north to east winds but no wind slab or significant layers in the upper snowpack. The snowpack structure was generally right-side with good bonds to the Thanksgiving crust.

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available