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Mt Hood

Issued: 7:56 PM PST Tuesday, January 16, 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. 

Watch for wind-loaded slopes above treeline where shallow wind slabs have been reported on Tuesday. Mitigate hazard by approaching lee slopes with caution.

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Avalanche Problems for Wednesday

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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Avalanche Summary:

Snow has fallen above 6400 feet on Monday night. Breezy W-SW winds have redistributed snow and created shallow wind slabs (see observation below).

The recent high pressure created melt-freeze surface conditions followed by rain on Monday, which is now refreezing into a 5 cm crust at Mt. Hood Meadows, providing a good bed surface for recent snowfall. The new snow has not been sticking well to this bed surface, but is shallow at mid-elevations.

Friday, a rain and freezing rain event created icy surface conditions up to at least 7000 feet. 

Above treeline, W-SW winds Wednesday through Friday combined with significant snowfall have likely created a variety of snow surface conditions, including firm wind slabs in the alpine.

Observations

On Tuesday, Mt. Hood Meadows Pro Patrol reported two natural 6-12" wind slabs on NE aspects between 7000 and 7300 ft.

Observations Friday from Mt Hood Meadows reported a supportable rain and freezing rain crust to 7000 feet. The ice crust prevented winds from transporting snow near and below treeline.

Forecast for Wednesday:

No significant new precipitation in the forecast for Wednesday, but winds will increase into the moderate range as the morning progresses. Significant additional warming is anticipated during the late morning hours.

A stout crust on Tuesday morning will provide a bed surface for shallow wind slabs which formed above treeline on Tuesday. These wind slabs will remain sensitive to human trigger on Tuesday, with additional active wind loading from a moderate southerly wind before the snow levels rise. Monitor new snow and wind transport diligently throughout the day and navigate around potentially wind-loaded slopes on W-N-E aspects.

The stout icy surface crust reported in much of the terrain should soften with warming on Wednesday late morning, making travel slightly easier.

While loose wet avalanches are not expected, monitor changing surface snow conditions as warming occurs through the day.

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.