Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Avalanche danger!!

Greetings all on this wonderful Tuesday morning. Just wanted to send out a quick reminder to check the avalanche danger before you head into the mountains.

A strong Pacific frontal system blew through the Cascades mid-day Sunday. A few inches of wet snow accumulated through the early afternoon above 4000 feet, but the strong winds were the main story Sunday. The most significant transport winds were from the W-SW and seen in the early afternoon post-frontal passage with gusts in the 40s or 50s below or near treeline with much stronger winds above treeline. By Monday morning, 4-12 inches of new snow had accumulated along the west slopes accompanied by a cooling trend.

This means that wind slabs are a very real danger out there and will likely persist for a bit.

Remember that the first period of above freezing temperatures is typically when spring avalanches occur. These are a result of free water loosening up the snow pack. Wet loose avalanches carry a lot of kinetic energy and hit you with surprising power.

Typically in Washington snow stops accumulating in mid april and the snow pack begins to decrease. That will bring great spring skiing and potential wet avalanche hazards.

Check out NWAC for the most up to date info out there. Be safe and have fun!

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