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Mt Hood

Issued: 7:11 PM PST Sunday, February 4, 2018
by Dennis D'Amico

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. 

Slowly lowering freezing levels and light amounts of new snowfall will decrease the avalanche danger Monday in the Mt. Hood area. The upper snowpack will begin refreezing Monday, but loose wet avalanches are possible to trigger on steep slopes with wet surface snow, especially in the morning. Avoid slopes where avalanches may carry you into terrain traps.

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Avalanche Problems for Monday

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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Forecast for Monday:

Slowly lowering freezing levels and light amounts of new snowfall will decrease the avalanche danger Monday in the Mt. Hood area. The wet upper snowpack will begin refreezing Monday, but loose wet avalanches are possible to trigger on steep slopes with wet surface snow, especially in the morning. Avoid slopes where avalanches may carry you into dangerous terrain such as over a cliff, into a creek, or down a gully. 

The likelihood for large and destructive wet slab avalanches originating from above treeline should decrease substantially Monday. However, limit your exposure to avalanche paths that originate at higher elevations for one more day to mitigate this low likelihood/high consequence problem.

Avalanche Summary:

Moderate to strong W-NW winds were seen over the weekend at Mt. Hood, but due to continued mild conditions, there is no snow available for transport in the above treeline band (NWAC's forecast does not apply above 7000-8000 feet). The recent mild and at times wet weather has created wet surface snow conditions well into the above treeline terrain in the Mt Hood area. 

The upper snowpack consist of a mix of wet snow, old crusts, and well consolidated storm snow. 

Observations

Mt. Hood Meadows pro-patrol reported that Friday's widespread wet loose avalanche activity had become more stubborn and isolated near and below treeline by Saturday.  The wet upper snowpack was still quite unconsolidated with the most recent 1/18 crust breaking down due to the sustained mild wet weather. Winds were strong near and above treeline but no snow was available for transport in area. 

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.