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Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 7:05 AM
Issued by: Jeff Davis

Today

 

Tomorrow

Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.   Moderate (2) Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
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Summary

Winter has returned to the South San Juan zone, but with winters re-arrival we are once again dealing with heightened avalanche conditions. Snow totals thus far are around 8-10 inches for most of the forecast area. Strong winds accompanied the new snow. Winds started out of the south, but shifted to the north as the storm cell passed. The forecast calls for lingering snow showers this morning, but clearing by mid-day. 

Today, you can trigger a Storm Slab avalanche on all steep slopes where you find 8 inches or more of new or wind-drifted snow. With the shift in wind during the storm this issue will be widespread. It is hard to know how well the new snow is bonding, but with reports of natural avalanche activity in the neighboring North San Juan zone, expect conditions to get touchier as you gain elevation. If skies clear this afternoon watch for loose avalanches on sunny slopes as the new snow warms. 

I know we are all jonesing for powder, but take a careful approach today as conditions have change over the past 24 hours. 

The Friends of CAIC have launched their spring fundraising campaign in an effort to raise $50,000 to support avalanche forecasting and education in Colorado. Every dollar counts. Donate today and support your avalanche center! https://avalanche.state.co.us/donate/

 

Recent Tweets

@CAIC: MOD(L2)Snow and strong winds have increased avalanche danger on all slopes. Avoid steep slopes with 8" or more Mar 24, 8:00 AM
@CAIC: LOW(L1)ATL MOD(L2). Colder temps and possible new snow transition from spring to winter avalanche conditions Mar 23, 7:31 AM

Avalanche Problem

 
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What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Storm Slab avalanches release naturally during snow storms and can be triggered for a few days after a storm. They often release at or below the trigger point. They exist throughout the terrain. Avoid them by waiting for the storm snow to stabilize.

Avalanche Problem

 
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What You Need to Know About These Avalanches


Wet Slab avalanches occur when there is liquid water in the snowpack, and can release during the first few days of a warming period. Travel early in the day and avoid avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, loose wet avalanches, or during rain-on-snow events.

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
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Above Treeline
Near Treeline
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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 Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 4:27 AM by Mike Cooperstein Statewide Weather Forecast
  Friday Friday Night Saturday
Temperature (ºF) 35 to 40 20 to 25 30 to 35
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 5 to 15 0 to 10
Wind Direction SW WSW WNW
Sky Cover Increasing Overcast Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 to 1 PM 1 to 3 0 to 1

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 7:57 AM
Issued by: Jeff Davis Statewide Weather Forecast  

New snow and strong winds have increased avalanche danger on all slopes. Snow totals as of 5am; Wolf Creek pass 8-10"; Lizard Head-12"; Rico 8-10; Molas-9"; Coal Bank-8". 

The new and wind-drifted snow fell on an array of crusts near and above treeline and a soft melted surface below treeline. With reports of natural avalanche activity in the adjacent North San Juan zone, expect that the new snow is not bonding well to the preexisting surface especially at higher elevations. Avalanches will be easily triggered on steep loaded slopes and will quickly gain mass as they move downhill. Since the winds shifted during the storm. It is hard to pin down the distribution of the new snow at this point. Approach all steep slopes with caution. Avalanches triggered will range from small to large. General rule of thumb. The more snow on the slope, the bigger the avalanche. You could trigger an avalanche today in the new snow that is big enough to injure or bury you. 

Since temperatures dropped below freezing, especially above 9,000 feet, the preexisting surface has refrozen. It is unlikely that we will see avalanches step down below the new load.


  • Loose Wet avalanches on south facing slope, North San Juan zone. (full)
  • Wet loose slide that likely triggered a slab, North San Juan zone. (full)
  • SE aspect steep rocky terrain (full)

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Five Day Trend

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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 Fri Mar 24 Mark Mueller Yes (1) No No
View Thu Mar 23 Mark Mueller Yes (1) No No

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Wolf Creek Pass Sat Mar 25 5:00 AM 26 75 14 222 19 1.0
Columbus Basin Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 27 - - - - -
Cumbres Trestle Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 29 - - - - -
Lily Pond Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 27 - - - - -
Upper San Juan Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 21 - - - - -
Wolf Creek Summit Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 30 - - - - 1.0

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