East Slopes North - Canadian Border to Lake Chelan
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.
Winter is just around the corner! Regular NWAC mountain weather and avalanche forecasts usually begin in mid to late November. Look for an upcoming blog post detailing late Fall/Winter NWAC operations specifying our forecast schedule. For more notes on early season avalanche hazards and Fall NWAC operations, please read the section below.
If you have any comments or suggestions regarding the weather or backcountry avalanche forecasting program, please direct them to:
Northwest Avalanche Center
7600 Sandpoint Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98115
or email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 206-526-6165 and leave a message. The non-profit side of NWAC can be reached at email@example.com.
FALL AVALANCHE STATEMENT
As the winter season rapidly approaches, the Northwest Avalanche Center is preparing once again to provide daily mountain weather and avalanche forecasts for the Olympics and Cascades. Preparations include outreach events, office maintenance, standard training, administrative tasks, weather station installation and repair, and preliminary forecasting for program cooperators such as the National Park Service, Washington State DOT and Pacific Northwest Ski Area Association.
We will begin issuing regular mountain weather and avalanche forecasts when sufficient snow has accumulated at moderate and lower elevations to create potential avalanche danger. Usually, regular forecasts begin mid to late November, but in low snow years the start date can be later. As always, these forecasts do not apply to developed ski areas or highways.
Here are a few general notes regarding Fall avalanches:
During the Fall, the atmosphere experiences significant cooling at higher latitudes. As this cold northern air is mixed progressively southward by Fall storms, pronounced changes in the air temperatures occur over the Pacific Northwest. Wet and cool weather depositing substantial snowfall at the higher elevations can result in locally significant avalanche danger during the Fall. The most likely avalanche problems encountered in the Fall include storm and wind slab and loose snow avalanches. For more information on avalanche problems, please see http://avalanche.state.co.us/forecasts/help/avalanche-problems/.
In the Fall these avalanche problems are usually confined to permanent snow fields on the volcanic peaks and the alpine regions of higher non-volcanic peaks of the Cascades and Olympics. Generally, the shallow Fall snowpack at lower and mid-elevations still has vegetation and other anchors helping to limit avalanche potential. Use standard avalanche risk management if traveling to higher elevations with enough snow to avalanche and stay tuned for updates from NWAC as we get deeper into Fall.
Have a safe and enjoyable Fall and Winter!