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Mt Hood

Issued: 6:03 AM PST Friday, March 2, 2018
by Josh Hirshberg

You will be able to trigger avalanches in wind-loaded or steep open slopes at all elevations Friday. Recent wind and storm slabs may be found in many locations. While gradually stabilizing, these avalanche problems will need more time to heal. Stay off of open or wind-loaded slopes over 35 degrees and use travel routes and techniques to minimize your exposure to overhead avalanche terrain. Direct late-winter sunshine on steep sun exposed slopes may trigger shallow Loose avalanches.

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  • Extreme (5)

Avalanche Problems for Friday

Wind Slabi

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Storm Slabi

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Forecast for Friday:

Cool temperatures and light winds are expected Friday with partly cloudy conditions and scattered light snow showers at times. This weather will allow for a gradually decreasing danger Friday. Any extended periods of direct late-winter sunshine may trigger shallow Loose avalanches on steep slopes facing the sun.

Fresh wind and storm slabs formed by early Thursday in many locations. While these slab layers continue to settle and stabilize, the cold temperatures will slow that process. It will still be possible to trigger these avalanches Friday.

Wind slabs may vary from soft to hard and are especially likely in higher exposed terrain below ridges that received wind deposited snow Wednesday night. The most likely aspects to encounter wind slabs are NW-SE facing terrain, though variations in local winds and cross loading of mid-slope features will require careful snowpack assessment. Identify and avoid steep slopes where the wind deposited snow. In some locations these wind slabs may be hidden by soft unconsolidated snow. Use visual clues such as cornices, the lack of snow in the trees, and large snow drifts to indicate wind loading on nearby slopes. Give this avalanche problem a wide berth Friday.

Wind slabs will have the potential to become large and destructive. Use travel routes and techniques to reduce your exposure to Mt Hood’s very large avalanche paths that originate higher on the mountain.   

In wind sheltered locations, you will be able to trigger soft storm slabs up to 14” deep on open slopes greater than about 35 degrees. Storm slab layers are gradually healing but may still be possible to trigger Friday. Be patient as this active avalanche pattern proceeds. 

Avalanche Summary:

About 8-10 inches of new snow was deposited by Thursday morning. Strong, mostly SSW winds accompanied Wednesday night's snowfall. This new snow fell on a variety of snow surfaces created during the last several days including crust on sunny aspects, wind featured snow, and unconsolidated surface snow in shaded sheltered areas.

In many locations more than 3’ of snow now sits on a firm buried crust layer (2/17). This crust has been reported up to 6600’ by professionals in the region. There are currently no significant layers of concern below the 2/17 crust.

Observations

On Thursday, Mt. Hood Meadows pro-patrol reported small to large slab releases reactive to ski cuts near and below treeline on steep slopes. Explosives above treeline released large to very large hard slab avalanches on many N-E facing terrain. These large slabs had crown faces ranging from 4-6 ft deep and produced significant avalanche debris in the runout zones well below the start zones! 

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available