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Mt Hood

Issued: 7:32 PM PST Thursday, February 22, 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. 

New shallow wind slabs will build during the day on Friday above treeline. You will most likely be able to trigger these avalanches on steep slopes near wind drifting and blowing snow, and below fresh cornices. In sheltered areas, loose snow conditions will continue. Avoid steep slopes where even small loose dry avalanches can have larger consequences such as above cliffs, creeks, and gullies.

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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 Dryi

Loose dry avalanches exist throughout the terrain, release at or below the trigger point, and can run in densely-treed areas. Avoid very steep slopes and terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies, or tree wells.

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Forecast for Friday:

New shallow wind slabs will form Friday, especially above treeline, as the next round of precipitation and wind begins to impact Mt Hood in the afternoon. The avalanche danger will rise slightly throughout the day as slabs grow deeper and become easier to trigger. Look for areas of wind blowing snow, plumes, fresh cornices, and drifting snow. Avoid steep slopes where wind deposition is occurring.

In sheltered areas, loose surface snow will exist. You will be most likely to trigger loose snow avalanches on slopes greater than 35 degrees. Avoid slopes with higher consequences such as above cliffs, gullies, and creeks where even small avalanches can harm you.

Any avalanche occurring Friday will have the potential to entrain loose surface snow and grow large.

Avalanche Summary:

Several natural loose dry avalanches were reported Wednesday on slopes steeper than 35 degrees. These avalanches resulted from snow falling with generally cold temperatures and light winds creating loose snow surface conditions at all elevations. The Mt Hood area has received several feet of light dry loose snow over the last several days. Little to no slab formation has been reported in the recent snow.

This light dry snow sits atop the most recent crust layer formed and buried on Saturday 2/17. This crust has been reported up to 6600 feet by professionals in the region. While many layers are present in the snowpack, unstable snow has been relegated to the upper few feet.

Observations

On Wednesday, professional observations from the Mt Hood Meadows area indicated Loose-Dry avalanches were possible in steep terrain with several small natural Loose-Dry releases seen.

On Monday, Mt Hood Meadows patrol traveled into the above treeline area for the first time since the strong storm cycle. Surprisingly, they found a lack of wind slabs in terrain usually laden with them. The very cold temperatures may have limited slab formation in this 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.