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Mt Hood

Issued: 8:06 AM PST Sunday, February 4, 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. 

8 AM Update: Changed Wet Slab Avalanches to Wind Slab Avalanches Above Treeline in Mt. Baker Zone (West Slopes North)

Rain and continued mild temperatures on Sunday will maintain wet snow and avalanche conditions at all elevations in the Mt. Hood area. Avoid steep open slopes above terrain traps where being caught in even a small loose wet avalanche could have serious consequences. To mitigate the low likelihood/high consequence wet slab avalanche problem, avoid steep open slopes above treeline. At lower elevations, limit your exposure to avalanche paths that originate at higher elevations.

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Avalanche Problems for Sunday

Loose Weti

Loose wet avalanches occur where water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies, or tree wells. Exit avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, a slushy surface, or during rain-on-snow events.

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Wet Slabsi

Wet slabs occur when there is liquid water in the snowpack, and can release during the first few days of a warming period. Travel early in the day and avoiding avalanche paths when you see pinwheels, roller balls, loose wet avalanches, and during rain-on-snow events.

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Forecast for Sunday:

Rain and continued mild temperatures on Sunday will maintain wet snow and avalanche conditions at all elevations in the Mt. Hood area.

Loose wet avalanches are most likely during and following periods of higher rainfall. Avoid steep open slopes above terrain that could magnify the consequences of an avalanche. Cliffs, open creeks, rocks, and gullies are all examples of terrain traps where small avalanches may injure or kill you.

The likelihood for large and destructive wet slab avalanches originating from above treeline should decrease on Sunday. However wet slab avalanches are extremely difficult to predict and if they do release, they will entrain significant amounts of snow and travel well into lower elevations. To mitigate this low likelihood/high consequence problem, avoid steep open slopes above treeline. At lower elevations, limit your exposure to avalanche paths that originate at higher elevations.

Avalanche Summary:

W-NW winds were strong at Mt. Hood on Saturday but due to continued mild conditions, there is no snow available for transport in the above treeline band (NWAC's forecast does apply above 7000-8000 feet). The recent mild and at times wet weather has created wet surface snow conditions well into the above treeline terrain in the Mt Hood area. 

The upper snowpack consist of a mix of wet snow, old crusts, and well consolidated storm snow. 

Observations

Mt. Hood Meadows pro-patrol reported that Friday's widespread loose wet avalanche activity had become more stubborn and isolated near and below treeline by Saturday.  The wet upper snowpack was still quite unconsolidated with the most recent 1/18 crust breaking down due to the sustained mild weather. Winds were strong near and above treeline but no snow was available for transport in area. 

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.