NWAC has transitioned to limited summer operations, but we wanted to give one last overview of what has happened in the last week weather-wise and talk about projects planned for the summer.
Recent Mountain Weather Summary
NWAC weather stations have picked up roughly 2 to 4 inches of water over the last 8 days with freezing levels averaging around 6000 and 7000 ft at Forks, WA (Washington Coast) and Salem, Oregon respectively. The volcano weather stations on Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood have recorded the highest precipitation totals over this time with new snow accumulating at the higher elevations.
If you are visiting the higher elevations, particularly later this weekend or early next week if the weather improves, keep in mind the potential for avalanche hazards even in summer. Loose wet avalanches will be the primary concern as soon as the sun pops out following any new snow accumulation, but wind slab may also form on lee aspects in higher terrain. Many avalanche deaths have occurred during the month of June as the climbing season on the volcanoes begins in earnest.
Total June avalanche fatalities for Washington State highlighted (Includes 11 fatalities from June 1981 icefall avalanche on Mt. Rainier)
Summer weather station maintenance
NWAC receives limited summer funding to work on our weather stations and advance other projects outside of our core forecast season.
The following weather stations are queued up for significant equipment and/or communication upgrades. We can't guarantee all of these stations will be fixed come Fall, but you should know they are our top weather station priorities.
- Timberline Magic Mile (hoping to transition from phone line to internet)
- Alpental Wind (complete station overhaul)
- White Pass Base (hoping to transition from phone line to internet)
In addition, NWAC has been working with weather station specialist Dan Howlett of NoHow Inc this week specifically strengthening two problematic weather stations. We visited Washington Pass (see photo) on Tuesday and addressed some wiring issues and installed a new temperature sensor. Today we worked on the Crystal Summit radio link that connects to our Chinook Pass and Sunrise (Mt. Rainier) weather stations and have hopefully eliminated the sporadic outages that plagued us over the past year.
Avalanche accident reports from the 2015-16 season have slowly been finished and uploaded over the last few weeks including most recently the Granite Mountain fatality from December 31st. It may sound cliche, but each incident is truly different in the way information is gathered and then relayed to NWAC. Also, when possible we prefer to have a number of professionals lend a critical eye to the report with the goal of ultimately producing the most accurate report possible. In addition to the reports, the 2015-16 Accident Charts will be updated over the next several weeks.