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WA Cascades near and west of crest - between Snoqualmie and White Pass

Avalanche Warning i

Issued: Wed, April 23, 2014 at 6:00 PM
Expires: Thu, April 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Issued: 6:00 PM Wednesday, April 23, 2014
by Garth Ferber

Please note that regularly scheduled mountain weather and avalanche forecasts for the past winter season have ended.  However, weather and snow conditions will continue to be monitored at the Northwest Avalanche Center with the information that remains available. Additional forecasts or special statements will be issued according to the criteria and schedule given here.

Very dangerous avalanche conditions are likely from Mt Rainier to Mt Hood on Thursday. Travel in avalanche terrain from Mt Rainier to Mt Hood is not recommended.

Danger Scalei
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Avalanche Concerns

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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Storm Slabsi

Storm slabs usually stabilize within a few days, and release at or below the trigger point. They exist throughout the terrain, and can be avoided by waiting for the storm snow to stabilize.

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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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Snowpack Analysis:

It might be late April but Mother Nature isn't watching the calendar and more weather systems are moving across the Northwest this week.

Recent reports are few and far between. Yesterday the Chinook Pass DOT crew reported large natural and triggered wet loose avalanches on solar aspects. Wednesday morning Mt Hood Meadows ski patrol reported widespread triggered 6-10 inch storm slab avalanches. This afternoon the Mt Hood Meadows ski patrol reports widespread natural and triggered wet loose avalanches in their closed Heather Canyon area.

Detailed Forecast for Thursday:

A warm front will move across the Northwest on Wednesday night followed by the cold front Thursday morning. This will cause southwest winds and further moderate to heavy rain and snow especially from Mt Rainier to Mt Hood. Snow levels should rise to the 4000 foot, 5000 foot and 6000 foot range in the north, central and south Cascades respectively on Wednesday night. Snowfall in the ATL and NTL zones for the 48 hours ending Thursday morning should be in the .5-1 foot range from Mt Baker to Snoqualmie and in the 2-3 foot range from Mt Rainier to Mt Hood. Less snowfall is likely east of the crest.

Southwest winds and moderate to heavy showers should be seen following the front on Thursday morning. Further southwest winds and generally moderate showers should be seen Thursday afternoon. Snow levels should lower a bit to about 4000 feet in the north and 5000 feet in the south following the cold front.

New snow will be very susceptible to strong spring solar effects and strong daytime warming! New or further building storm and wind slab will also be seen. These avalanche concerns will be especially where snowfall is expected to be heaviest from Mt Rainier to Mt Hood.

The avalanche concerns will be listed as very likely from Mt Rainier to Mt Hood, likely at Hurricane and from Mt Baker to Snoqualmie, and possible east of the crest.