• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
  • Forecast Discussion
  • Observations & Weather Data

Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 6:21 AM
Issued by: Jeff Davis

Today

 

Tomorrow

Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.   Low (1) Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
  Danger Scale

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Summary

Below-freezing temperatures Saturday night under clear skies will help minimize the threat of wet avalanches today. That said you should still plan to avoid slopes that have been heated by the sun for several hours and avoid spending extended periods of time under slopes with large cornice features. Easterly slopes will heat up first, followed by south, and then westerly slopes will become wet by the afternoon. Steep, rocky, and sunny slopes are most susceptible to wet avalanches as they warm throughout the day. Roller balls, pinwheels, and boot penetration deeper than about 8 inches are signs that a slope has become too wet. You can test the snow stability by stepping off your skis, board, or machine. If you sink deeper than about the top of your boots, larger and more dangerous avalanches are possible. Exit any slope immediately that becomes unsupportable or feels "punchy".

This is our 144th and final zone backcountry avalanche forecast for the 2016-17 season. Starting this afternoon, we will issue statewide avalanche summaries each Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday through the end of May. From all of us at the CAIC, thanks for a great season! Keep having fun and see you out there.

We have made impressive strides in our mission of avalanche forecasting and education here in Colorado. Help us continue that trend and donate to the Friends of CAIC fundraising campaign. https://avalanche.state.co.us/donate/.

 

Recent Tweets

@CAIC: LOW(L1) Solid freeze overnight=good window b4 wet avy threat. Thanks for all your support. See you in the fall Apr 16, 7:01 AM
@CAIC: LOW (L1) Warm today! Avoid steep slopes with multiple hours of sun exposure. Get out of the mountains early. Apr 15, 5:56 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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Above Treeline
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Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Loose Wet avalanches occur when water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid very steep slopes and 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.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
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Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Loose Wet avalanches occur when water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid very steep slopes and 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.

Avalanche Problem

 
problem icon
N
S
E
W
NW
NE
SE
SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
Certain
Very Likely
Likely
Possible
Unlikely
Historic
Very Large
Large
Small
Avalanche Character Aspect/Elevation Likelihood Size

What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Persistent Slab avalanches can be triggered days to weeks after the last storm. They often propagate across and beyond terrain features that would otherwise confine Wind and Storm Slab avalanches. In some cases they can be triggered remotely, from low-angle terrain or adjacent slopes. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to address the uncertainty.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft Issued Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM by Nick Barlow Statewide Weather Forecast
  Sunday Night Monday Monday Night
Temperature (ºF) 21 to 26 30 to 35 15 to 20
Wind Speed (mph) 10 to 20 15 to 25 10 to 20
Wind Direction WSW WSW W
Sky Cover Overcast Overcast Overcast
Snow (in) 2 to 4 0 to 2 0 to 2

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 6:56 AM
Issued by: Jeff Davis Statewide Weather Forecast  

Groundhog Day in the Southern Mountains. We continue to see very little change in avalanche danger and conditions day to day. Many slopes will have a firm refrozen surface this morning, but it will not take long for these slopes to heat up and wet avalanche hazard to rise. Warm temperatures and the strong spring sun are the main contributors to the snow surface losing structure and becoming unsupportable. With lighter winds in the forecast slopes will warm faster than they have in previous days. Though generally safe avalanche conditions persist, continue to watch for wet avalanche activity as the day progresses and avoid slopes that have been baking in the sun for multiple hours. Monitor the surface snow conditions carefully. Small Loose Wet avalanches can entrain enough heavy snow to knock you off your feet. If the snow loses cohesion and you sink deeper than about eight inches larger more dangerous avalanches are becoming possible. If you encounter these conditions, you should find a cooler aspect to recreate on or simply call it a day.

Timing becomes very important in your trip planning in the Spring. You can easily avoid the avalanche danger by avoiding the sun. Start on easterly-facing slopes and make your way west as the sun climbs higher and starts its trip across the sky. Think about your afternoon exit route. If you plan to be in the mountains later in the day, remember that west-facing aspects have sun on them until 6:00 pm and avalanche danger is greatest later in the day. Northerly aspects that are breaking down for the first time are most suspect to larger Loose Wet avalanches.. 


  • Dry facets on NW facing slope 11,600 feet (full)
  • Periods of snow then sun during the last two weeks have created a complex structure with multiple MF crusts, but any avalanching has only involved surface layers. (full)
  • Dry snow persist on North facing slope. This type of structure could lead to another Wet Slab cycle as temperatures continue to rise. (full)

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Avalanche Observations
No relevant backcountry observations found for this forecast

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Sun Apr 23 Mark Mueller No No Yes (1)

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Wolf Creek Pass Wed Apr 26 3:00 PM 24 86 16 222 28 -
Columbus Basin Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 36 - - - - -
Cumbres Trestle Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 40 - - - - -
Lily Pond Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 39 - - - - 2.0
Upper San Juan Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 39 - - - - 3.0
Wolf Creek Summit Wed Apr 26 2:00 PM 34 - - - - 1.0

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