• Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
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Tue, Jan 15, 2019 at 7:38 AM
Issued by: Brian Lazar

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

Recent avalanche activity, and reports of  cracking and collapsing are all signs of a worrisome snowpack. Avalanche hazard is slowly subsiding as we move further away from the last storm and loading event, but you can trigger a large and dangerous avalanche today. The most suspect  slopes harbor older wind-drifted slabs.You are most likely to trigger these slabs on higher elevation north and east-facing slopes below ridgelines or in cross loaded gullies. With the last storm, there is now a slab on more aspects and that makes route finding more important today. You may be able to trigger avalanches from the bottom of slopes or from a distance. Give avalanche terrain a wide margin over the next couple days to lower chances of getting into trouble. 

Slopes below old cornices or slopes where the snowpack is dramatically deeper than the surrounding terrain are more risky. Previous avalanche activity, and cracking and collapsing are signs that the snowpack is weak. Avoid travel on and under steep slopes if you experience these conditions. 

 

Avalanche Problem

 
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N
S
E
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NE
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SW
Above Treeline
Near Treeline
Below Treeline
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Very Likely
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Possible
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Historic
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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.

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


Wind Slab avalanches release naturally during wind events and can be triggered for up to a week after a wind event. They form in lee and cross-loaded terrain features. Avoid them by sticking to wind sheltered or wind scoured areas.

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 Tue, Jan 15, 2019 at 11:28 AM by Brian Lazar Statewide Weather Forecast
  Tuesday Night Wednesday Wednesday Night
Temperature (ºF) 12 to 17 20 to 25 10 to 15
Wind Speed (mph) 10 to 20 15 to 25 15-25 G40
Wind Direction WSW W W
Sky Cover Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 1 to 3 2 to 4 1 to 3

Archived Forecasts

  • Select Forecast: Valid

Tue, Jan 15, 2019 at 8:10 AM
Issued by: Spencer Logan Statewide Weather Forecast  

Although it can be easy to focus on the storm that starts Tuesday evening, we should not ignore the conditions we are dealing with today. Human triggered avalanches and near misses have been reported almost daily throughout the Central Mountains. So the message remains consistent and persistent. Persistent weak layers developed early in the winter and persistent slab avalanches continue to be problematic.

Near and above treeline, our most problematic layer has been a widespread persistent weak layer that formed in mid-December and was buried by storms in late December. Depending on aspect and location, you could find surface hoar, near surface facets, crusts, or some combination. None of these snow grains are known for their ability to bond well, and are notorious weak layers. Last week's storms pushed the weak layers past the tipping point. Although the layers have become less reactive in the past few days, the incoming storm will test them again. The snowpack is deep enough now in most portions of Central Mountains to smooth out ground roughness and subtle terrain features, making it easier for avalanches to become larger and travel farther. If this incoming storm meets or beats expectations, we can expect to see another natural avalanche cycle similar to what we observed in the January 6 to 7 cycle. Or possibly larger avalanche sizes.

Below treeline, cold and clear nights have faceted away the slab that formed during  the January 6 to 7 storm. Loose avalanches are gouging deeper into the depth hoar near the ground. These sluffs can grow very quickly, and become big enough to knock you off of your feet. They can be dangerous if you are in the wrong spot. The incoming storm will load this weak snow structure and make the entire snowpack very sensitive.


  • This avalanche was triggered from below. Jan 14 2019, Aspen Zone. (full)

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Five Day Trend

Saturday

Sunday

Monday

Today

Tomorrow

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    High
  • 5
    Extreme
Avalanche Observations
Report Date # Elevation Aspect Type Trigger SizeR SizeD
View Sun Jan 13 - TL W SS U R1 D1
View Sun Jan 13 - TL - HS AR - D1

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Field Reports
Report Date Observer Snowpack Obs Avalanches Media
View Mon Jan 14 - No No Yes (1)
View Sun Jan 13 - No No Yes (1)
View Sun Jan 13 Ryan Zarter No Yes (1) Yes (1)
View Sun Jan 13 - No Yes (1) Yes (1)

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Weather Observations
Station Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Wind Direction Max Gust 24 Hr Snow
Brumley Wed Jan 16 1:00 AM 27 - - - - -
Monarch Pass (050e200) Wed Jan 16 2:44 AM 19 94 16 165 21 -
Saint Elmo Wed Jan 16 1:00 AM 26 - - - - 1.0
Leadville Wed Jan 16 2:00 AM 18 96 3 80 - -
Porphyry Creek Wed Jan 16 2:00 AM 24 - - - - 2.0

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