Issued: 6:00 PM PST Monday, January 1, 2018
by Dennis D'Amico

NWAC avalanche forecasts apply to backcountry avalanche terrain in the Olympics, Washington Cascades and Mt Hood area. These forecasts do not apply to developed ski areas, avalanche terrain affecting highways and higher terrain on the volcanic peaks above the Cascade crest level.

Watch for isolated wind slabs in exposed terrain, especially above treeline on Tuesday.

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Avalanche Problems for Tuesday

Wind Slabi

Wind slabs can take up to a week to stabilize. They are confined to lee and cross-loaded terrain features and can be avoided by sticking to sheltered or wind scoured areas.

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Forecast for Tuesday:

Mild and cloudy weather should be seen in the Olympics Tuesday. 

Watch for isolated wind slabs in exposed terrain, especially above treeline. Look for signs of wind transported snow such as uneven snow surfaces, fresh cornices, and snow drifts. Each of these observations are signs that the wind has redistributed snow in the area. Identify and avoid wind loaded terrain features.

Wind slabs can be deceptively difficult to manage in the terrain. Take a moment and read our recent blog post by NWAC Pro Observer Jeremy Allyn on wind slabs.

Avalanche Summary:

Happy New Year from your friends at NWAC!

Mild weather Sunday and Monday has allowed the snowpack to continue to heal and gain strength following an active weather pattern this past week.

SW winds Friday night redistributed new snow forming shallow wind slabs on lee slopes at higher elevations. This resulted in a variety of snow surfaces including soft unconsolidated snow, wind scoured slopes, rain crust, and firm wind slabs.

The 12/16 mid-December crust can still be found 2-3 feet down within the snowpack.


NWAC pro observer, Matt Schonwald visited Hurricane Ridge on Friday, 12/29 and stressed that this is a different snowpack than the Cascades! He visited W-NW-N-NE aspects and found the 12/16 crust and 1-2 mm facets down 2.5 feet. Several PST tests failures, self-arrested, but propagated through most of the column along the 12/16 layer. This PWL will mostly likely be found below ridgelines and will have to be watched moving forward. 

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available


This Backcountry Avalanche Forecast is provided in conjunction with the US Forest Service, and is intended for personal and recreational purposes only. Safe backcountry travel requires preparation and planning, and this information may be used for planning purposes but does not provide all the information necessary for backcountry travel. Advanced avalanche education is strongly encouraged.

The user acknowledges that it is impossible to accurately predict natural events such as avalanches in every instance, and the accuracy or reliability of the data provided here is not guaranteed in any way. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations will always occur. This forecast expires 24 hours after the posted time unless noted otherwise.