• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
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Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 7:14 AM
Issued by: Scott Toepfer

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.
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

The Sangre de Cristo Range accumulated at least 6 inches of new snow from the Thursday night storm. This new snow, plus some moderate northeast winds, have brought a return to winter avalanche problems. We added Storm Slab avalanches to the Friday Forecast. Distribution and extent of the new snow across the zone are tricky to determine, so a blanket coverage for Storm Slab avalanches near and above treeline is the main concern for today. North to east winds above treeline were probably strong, so the western aspects could be a bigger problem for backcountry travelers in the zone.

New snow amounts, combined with increasing sunshine today, will also threaten an increase in Loose Wet avalanches from all aspects near and above treeline as temperatures rise.

 

Recent Tweets

@CAIC: MOD (L2) Storm Snow avalanches and small Loose Wet avalanches are the two primary concerns for Friday Mar 24, 7:20 AM
@CAIC: MOD (L2) today. New snow and increasing winds bring transition from spring to winter avalanche worries today. Mar 23, 7:23 AM

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


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

 
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


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


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.

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) 10 to 20 10 to 20 10 to 20
Wind Direction SW WSW N
Sky Cover Increasing Overcast Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 1 to 3 2 to 4

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 8:16 AM
Issued by: Scott Toepfer Statewide Weather Forecast  

Thursday night brought a favorable storm pattern for new snow and wind to the Sangre de Cristo zone. The storm moves further east today and we'll have a bit of a break before the next storm moves our way for Saturday night. The Saturday night storm could also impact the zone, so backcountry travelers should anticipate daily changes to conditions for the zone.

For the next few days Storm Slab avalanches, and Loose Wet avalanches are going to be the primary issue. We do know the Sangre de Cristo zone as a windy place, so the development of Wind Slab avalanches is a strong possibility. It's unfortunate that we have no high elevation band weather stations, but we will monitor web cams for any sign of wind banners off the peaks the next few days to help determine the formation of a new Wind Slab avalanche problem.

Loose Wet avalanches remain with us for now. The new snow will not react favorably to an intense March sun. As daytime temperatures spike upwards, the new snow is possibly going to sheet easily off old snow surfaces. All aspects will be prone, but for Friday be especially wary of the westerly aspects.


  • West ridge with summit in the background. (full)
  • North aspect bowl on east side of range. Good place to find a Persistent Slab avalanche (full)
  • Above treeline cross loaded northwest aspect gully. Good place to find a Persistent Slab avalanche (full)

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Five Day Trend

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Today

Tomorrow

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    Extreme
Avalanche Observations
No relevant backcountry observations found for this forecast

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Field Reports
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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
La Veta Pass (160w278) Sat Mar 25 5:30 AM 25 86 4 305 10 -
Hayden Pass Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 28 - - - - -
Medano Pass Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 23 - - - - -
South Colony Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 21 - - - - 1.0
Ute Creek Sat Mar 25 4:00 AM 19 - - - - -

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