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Mt Hood

Issued: 9:11 PM PST Wednesday, February 7, 2018
by Kenny Kramer

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. 

It will be possible to trigger a loose wet avalanche given continued springlike weather. Avoid steeper solar slopes if wet surface snow becomes deeper during the afternoon hours and don't expose yourself to cliffs or terrain traps such as gulleys.

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Avalanche Problems for Thursday

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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Forecast for Thursday:

Very warm weather will continue along with strong winds and increasing clouds on Thursday. 

A second night of above freezing temperatures will increase the threat of loose wet avalanches on Thursday morning, however increased cloud cover and winds attempt to limit the hazard. Expect the thick 10-12" crusts formed on Monday (1/5) to be partially thawed in some locations and that wet slush may be available to trigger a loose wet avalanche, particularly at lower elevations. Check the depth of your boot or ski penetration. At all elevations, avoid steeper solar slopes where wet, slushy snow becomes deeper than a few inches.

Avalanche Summary:

Cooling from Sunday afternoon through Monday refroze the top 10-12" of wet surface snow into a firm crust, however with temperatures staying above freezing for over 36 hours and temperatures climbing into the upper 40's to mid-50's at Mt. Hood Meadows stations, this crust should be thawing from the top down and loose wet activity was likely to have commenced by Wednesday afternoon.

The upper snowpack consists of a thick thawing crust at the surface, wet snow, old crusts, and well consolidated storm snow. 

Observations

On Monday, Mt. Hood Meadows pro patrol reported that wind kept the snow firm except at the lowest elevations receiving solar heating. Runnels were in the terrain up to 7300'.

Mt. Hood Meadows pro patrol reported that Friday's widespread wet loose 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 wet 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.