|Travel Advice||Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.||Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.||Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential.||Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.||Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.|
|Likelihood of Avalanches||Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.||Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.||Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.||Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.||Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.|
|Avalanche Size and Distribution||Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.||Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.||Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.||Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.||Very large avalanches in many areas.|
The wet avalanche problem was worse just a few days ago. At this point the cold freezing overnight is creating a stiff crust on the snow surface that takes time for the solar radiation to melt and penetrate into deeper layers. Roller balls and other signs of instability at the surface show up more quickly in powder snow than in our current crust. That being said, sunny skies and warm temperatures can be the trigger for avalanches this afternoon. Travel decisions should be adjusted accordingly to limit exposure to south facing slopes late in the day.
With freezing overnight, the temperatures in the deeper snowpack remain relatively cold. We are not yet reaching the isothermal status where larger and deeper avalanches are expected.
These are pictures of the Goat couloir avalanche from Tuesday, a great example of the worst case scenario right now. This appears to be a very large cornice failure, which triggered a slab below and to the side of the cornice. The resulting avalanche traveled far for this path.
Cornices will become less stable in the afternoon as the sun heats them up and weakens their overhanging structure.
Several days of clear skies and strong temperature swings between day and night are creating a melt/freeze cycle on the snow surface. Temperatures last night dipped to the mid teens at 4000 feet elevation after reaching above freezing during the day. At sea level peak daytime temperatures hit the low 40s in some areas. Wind has been light, and we haven’t had any precipitation in several days.
Today’s weather looks like more of the same, but a change is expected tonight. Snowfall is in the forecast for the weekend and into next week.
Fitz will issue the next advisory Saturday, April 6th.
|11/27/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Ridge||Schauer/ Stiassny Forecaster|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Road report: Slide with dirt on Repeat offender||Anonymous|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Ben Sullender|
|11/25/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan trees||John Sykes Forecaster|
|11/21/23||Observation: Spokane Creek||John Sykes Forecaster|
|11/19/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum – PMS Bowl||Schauer/ Cullen/ Jonas Forecaster|
|11/19/23||Other Regions||Observation: Sunnyside/Penguin||Jose Ramos-Leon|
|11/19/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies||Andy Moderow|