Thoughts on our warming conditions:
With the warmest temperatures we've seen in a while expected to reach near 40°F around 10,000’ today, sunny skies at least in the morning, and light winds, small shallow loose wet surface sloughs may result from turns on steep sunny aspects as they warm. This isn’t listed as a significant problem today however for several reasons: 1) The clear skies last night led to a solid refreeze. 2) Snow on sunny aspects for the most part has already gone thru the melt-freeze transition. 3) The amount of snow on sunny aspects at the warmer lower elevations is quite limited. None-the-less, keep your eyes out and let us know if you seen anything concerning. Today’s forecasted weather would be much more concerning if it was following a recent snow storm.
Thoughts on our weak underlying snowpack structure:
6-12” of new snow fell with extreme winds last Thursday. Over two weeks of cold clear weather preceded this snowfall which led to a great deal of faceting and weakening of our snowpack in many areas. While test pits across our range have shown a concerning structure with layers of loose snow under stronger snow, no avalanche activity has occurred since the storm a week ago, and the avalanche activity that was reported during the storm did not involve these buried layers. Had the latest storm been more significant, these layers most likely would have become reactive and we would have seen many more larger avalanches. But the amount of new snow we received just wasn’t enough to tip the balance. Since the storm relatively warm temperatures and extended periods of cloud cover have led to a strengthening snowpack. None-the-less, our shallow snowpack structure should be kept in mind and continue to be monitored. Variability is great across our huge forecast area, and it remains important to take your shovel out and do your own localized assessments. Always use safe travel protocols such as exposing one person at a time.