Mt Hood

Issued: 6:05 PM PST Thursday, March 8, 2018
by Robert Hahn

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.

The avalanche danger will increase during the day on Thursday with very windy conditions quickly forming fresh Wind Slabs. Look for developing Wind Slabs on lee slopes near and above treeline that you can easily trigger. Rainfall will increase the likelihood for Loose Wet avalanches below treeline. The avalanche danger will increase further Thursday night. 

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Avalanche Problems for Thursday

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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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:

The avalanche danger will increase during the day on Thursday as a storm system brings light to moderate rain and snow to Mt. Hood along with very windy conditions. Look for developing Wind Slabs on lee slopes near and above treeline that you can easily trigger. Watch for cracking, wind stiffened snow, and freshly formed drifts. Steer around fresh wind features, convex rolls, and slopes holding a foot or more of new, cohesive snow that are 35 degrees and steeper. Shallow Storm Slabs may develop by the afternoon in wind sheltered terrain. The avalanche danger will continue to increase Thursday night. 

The rain/snow line is forecast to rise to 5000-5500' Thursday. Rainfall will raise the likelihood of small Loose Wet avalanches on steep slopes below treeline, especially those that have received fresh snowfall. Avoid steep slopes below treeline connected to terrain traps, where even a small Loose Wet avalanche could have unintended consequences. 

Avalanche Summary:

Temperatures were above freezing at NWAC stations at Mt. Hood Wednesday. Combined with overcast skies, this likely moistened the snow surface on all aspects near and below treeline. Loose Wet avalanches were reported Tuesday on sunny aspects. 

Mt. Hood received 3" of new snow Sunday night through Monday morning and west winds were transporting snow onto lee slopes (mostly easterly aspects) forming shallow wind slabs about 8" deep.

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.


NWAC pro-observer Laura Green was in Mitchell Creek Monday and observed active wind loading occurring near and above treeline. No new or recent avalanches were observed.

On Monday, Mt. Hood Meadows Pro Patrol reported west winds transporting snow, 8" of new and generally non-reactive wind slab on lee aspects limited to E facing slopes. Winds eased mid-day. Small loose wet avalanches occurred on solar, especially below treeline.

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.