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Mt Hood

Issued: 7:01 PM PST Tuesday, March 6, 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.

Watch for generally shallow recent wind slabs on mostly easterly aspects near and above treeline. Avoid these avalanches by staying off of snow drifts, deeply pillowed features, and fresh cornices on leeward slopes 35 degrees and steeper. Small loose wet avalanches are possible on Wednesday on steep solar slopes and below treeline.

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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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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 Wednesday:

Watch for generally shallow recent wind slabs on mostly easterly aspects near and above treeline. Avoid these avalanches by staying off of snow drifts, deeply pillowed features, and fresh cornices on leeward slopes 35 degrees and steeper.

Small loose wet avalanches are possible on Wednesday on steep solar slopes and below treeline. Avoid steep sunny slopes near terrain traps if the surface snow becomes moist and watch for signs of natural pinwheeling and rollerballing as a clear signal to change aspects. 

Avalanche Summary:

Small loose wet avalanches likely occurred Tuesday on steep sunny aspects.

Mt. Hood received 3" of new snow Sunday night through Monday morning and west winds were transporting snow onto lee slopes (mostly easterly aspects) forming shallow wind slabs about 8" deep that were not particularly reactive. The sun also came out on Monday, warming snow on sun-exposed aspects and creating small loose wet avalanches below treeline.

A few inches of snow fell during the day Thursday 3/1, followed on the heels of about 8-10 inches of snow that was deposited Wednesday night 2/28. Strong, mostly SSW winds accompanied Wednesday night's snowfall. A variety of snow conditions exist within the upper snowpack, ranging from sandwiches of soft snow with several crusts on shaded aspects with a multitude of crusts existing on sun-exposed aspects. Wind affected snow and unconsolidated surface snow can be found in shaded sheltered areas.

In many locations more than 3’ of snow now sits on a firm buried crust layer (2/17). This crust has been reported up to 6600’ by professionals in the region. There are currently no significant layers of concern below the 2/17 crust.

Observations

NWAC pro-observer Laura Green was in Mitchell Creek Monday and observed active wind loading occurring near and above treeline. No new or recent avalanches were observed.

On Monday, Mt. Hood Meadows Pro Patrol reported west winds transporting snow, 8" of new and generally non-reactive wind slab on lee aspects limited to E facing slopes. Winds eased mid-day. Small loose wet avalanches occurred on solar, especially below treeline.

On Sunday, an avalanche professional reported no avalanches and no cracking or whumphing observed in the Salmon River Canyon. A test pit at 6200' on a NE aspect indicated right-side up, low-density snow in the upper 12" of snow, with a very thin crust in the upper snowpack and a more significant crust down 1.5'. 

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.