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Mt Hood

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.

Continue to look for signs of recently wind transported snow such as snow drifts, fresh cornices, and uneven snow surface textures. Identify and avoid wind loaded snow on lee and cross loaded slopes.

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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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Avalanche Summary:

Happy New Year from your friends at the Northwest Avalanche Center!

Wind eased on Monday under mostly sunny skies and temperatures soared under high pressure. This should have hastened the stabilization of any wind slab built on Sunday. A variety of snow surfaces exist including wind scoured snow, crusts, and likely stubborn and firm wind slabs.

A variety of rain and freezing rain crusts are sandwiched  in the upper snowpack depending on elevation. Current observations do not suggest these layers to be reactive.

 

Snapshot of selected weather stations at Mt. Hood Meadows and Timeberline over the last 5 days. 

Observations

An observation submitted through our public observation page continued to show building wind slabs new Timberline Lodge Sunday. These winds slabs were reported as reactive to ski travel.

On Sunday Mt Hood Meadows Patrol reported a breakable crust below treeline. They observed isolated wind slabs and a very firm crust at higher elevations.

On Saturday Mt Hood Meadows Pro Patrol reported a large natural avalanche in Clark Canyon that likely released during Friday's storm. Debris from this avalanche ran into the near treeline elevation band. While the exact depth of the avalanche is unknown, this was a very large natural avalanche.

Photo: Brian Murphy, Mt Hood Meadows Patrol. Avalanche debris in Clark Canyon from a recent very large natural avalanche.

 

Forecast for Tuesday:

Benign weather will continue on Tuesday. Easterly offshore flow will steepen temperature inversions, causing cooler temperatures on the lower half of the mountain exposed to easterly flow. 

Recently formed wind slabs will continue to be a problem, mainly at higher elevations. Look for signs of recently wind transported snow. Identify and avoid wind loaded terrain below ridgelines and cross loaded terrain features. While we expect wind slabs to primarily exist above treeline, keep a watchful eye out for exposed terrain features near treeline where wind slabs may have formed.

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.

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available

USE AT YOUR OWN RISK

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.