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Olympics

Issued: 6:04 PM PST Thursday, February 1, 2018
by Dallas Glass

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. 

Warm wet weather will develop wet avalanche conditions Friday. Avoid slopes where even small avalanche can have large consequences. In locations above treeline still receiving snow, identify and avoid locations where winds have deposited snow such as below cornices, on wind drifts, and along cross loaded slopes.

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Avalanche Problems for Friday

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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Avalanche Summary:

As of Thursday afternoon 12-18 inches of new snow is well bonded to the 1/29 crust layer. Below this most recent crust the snowpack has become quite strong. At this point, there are no known layers of concern below the 1/29 crust.

Winds redistributed snow on exposed features near and above treeline. Wind slabs have been observed on most aspects.

Observations


NPS Rangers Thursday reported new snow was well bonded to the 1/29 crust. Wind loaded snow was seen on most aspects. During the day they observed east winds loading west facing slopes. This is an atypical loading pattern for the Hurricane Ridge area.

Forecast for Friday:

Warming air temperatures and rain will create wet avalanche conditions Friday near and below treeline. Expect Loose Wet avalanches to occur on steeper slopes. Watch for roller balls and pinwheels as these are signs that Loose Wet avalanches are becoming more likely to trigger. Avoid slopes were even small avalanches might carry you into locations where you can be hurt such as over cliffs, into creeks, or into gullies.

Above treeline, Wind Slabs formed over the past three days will continue to grow and be likely to be triggered by a backcountry traveler. Identify and avoid areas where wind loaded snow has occurred. Wind slabs can be difficult to assess. Use wide margins of safety to avoid wind slabs when traveling above treeline.

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.