Avalanche Forecast for Monday, January 14, 2019

This information was published 01/14/2019 at 7:01 AM.
A new forecast will be issued tomorrow.

NOT THE CURRENT FORECAST

This is an archived avalanche forecast and expired on 01/14/2019 at midnight.


The Bottom Line

Human triggered avalanches are unlikely but should still be a primary hazard on your radar today. Firm, large wind slabs, like those formed late last week, are a tricky avalanche problem as they generally display minimal signs of instability under your feet. Safe avalanche terrain practices like traveling one at a time and carrying your beacon, shovel, and probe are still advised. Remember that you use these practices for the “what if” scenario of an avalanche on a slope you’ve decided is reasonably stable. All forecast areas have LOW avalanche danger today. Continuing to respect avalanche terrain and remembering that Low does not mean no avalanche danger should combine well with favorable weather for a great day in the mountains.

2019-1-14_printable_pdf


Mountain Weather

Summit wind under 20 mph yesterday should also be light through much of today, ultimately increasing late afternoon and tonight while blowing from the NW. Temperatures have risen a few degrees overnight, though valleys are colder than higher elevations currently, and will continue to rise to the upper teens F on the higher summits. Clear skies and no precipitation are forecast today. Tomorrow should bring similar temperatures, mostly cloudy skies, moderate wind speeds, and possibly a trace of snow by tomorrow night.

Primary Avalanche Problem – Wind Slab

Wind Slab

Aspect/Elevation

Likelihood

Size

Wind slabs formed from the extended period of wind following last week’s snow are generally firm in middle and upper elevations. Expect them to be unreactive to a human trigger, but look for exceptions to help guide your terrain choices. These slabs vary in size and are quite large in some terrain, particularly the Sluice and Lip of Tuckerman Ravine. This avalanche problem should be generally absent on the western half of the compass rose and at lower elevations.

  Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.

Forecast Discussion

At the tail end of and following last week’s snow storm, northwesterly summit wind held in the 70-90 mph range for three days. A few hours of recorded wind were near 100 mph, and only a few dipped below 70 mph in that 72 hour period. This sustained period of extreme wind speeds heavily affected our storm snow, resulting in several natural avalanche cycles. The aftermath is areas of smooth and hard (1F) wind slab, heavily wind textured snow that is also quite hard in many places, and scouring. Similar aspects and elevations throughout the terrain vary in current conditions, largely due to upwind fetch for wind loading of the storm snow or lack thereof. While stability tests will identify weak layers in the upper snowpack, it’s unlikely that your weight will be enough to trigger an avalanche in our hard wind slab today. Remember that conditions vary greatly through the range and look for exceptions to the Low avalanche danger.

Additional Information

The Sherburne and Gulf of Slides ski trails are snow covered to Pinkham Notch.

Maine folks: Don’t miss the opportunity for a free avalanche awareness presentation from our director, Frank Carus, this Thursday evening at L.L. Bean in Freeport!

Snow Plot Information

DateHN24HN24W
(SWE)
Density (%)HSTTotalAir TT MaxT MinSkyPrecipComments
01/18/20
05:15
0 CMTrace 0CM103 CM-18.5 C-12.0 C-22.0 COvercastNo precipitationView
01/17/20
05:11
22 CM 16.6 MM 9%26CM107 CM-20.0 C-4.0 C-22.0 CFewNo precipitation
01/16/20
05:15
3 CM 2.9 MM 11%NC85 CM-7.0 C-4.0 C-7.0 COvercastSnow
01/15/20
05:16
2 CM MM 16%NC82 CM-4.0 C-3.5 C-7.0 COvercastSnowView
01/14/20
05:13
Trace 1.0 MMTrace79 CM-7.0 C-2.0 C-9.0 COvercastNo precipitation

Avalanche Log and Summit Weather

Thank you Mount Washington Observatory for providing daily weather data from the summit of Mount Washington.

DateMax TempMin TempTotal (SWE)24H Snow & IceWind AvgWind Fastest MileFastest Mile DirAvalanche Activity
01/17/204 F-18 F .03 in .4 in75 MPH110 MPH

320 (NW)

01/16/2018 F-11 F .048 in 6.1 in43.3 MPH117 MPH

330 (NNW)

01/15/2020 F11 F 0.25 in 1.8 in9.3 MPH74 MPH

290 (WNW)

01/14/2020 F10 F 0.03 in 0.7 in32 MPH69 MPH

280 (W)

01/13/2022 F14 F .04 in .8 in49.5 MPH81 MPH

240 (WSW)

01/12/2045 F8 F .84 in .4 in58.4 MPH104 MPH

260 (W)

01/11/2042 F29 F .32 in 0 in68.8 MPH119 MPH

230 (SW)

01/10/2030 F12 F .22 in 1.3 in63.4 MPH102 MPH

260 (W)

01/09/2015 F-14 F .04 in .4 in50.1 MPH114 MPH

310 (NW)

View
View
01/08/2013 F-8 F .52 in 5.2 in43.5 MPH95 MPH

290 (WNW)

01/07/2016 F1 F .17 in 1.6 in41.8 MPH90 MPH

280 (W)

01/06/2010 F3 F .2 in 2.2 in32.8 MPH71 MPH

270 (W)

Please Remember:

Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This forecast is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.

Avalanche danger may change when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.

For more information contact the US Forest Service Snow Rangers, AMC visitor services staff at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or seasonally at the Harvard Cabin (generally December 1 through March 31). The Mount Washington Ski Patrol is also available on spring weekends.

Posted 01/14/2019 at 7:01 AM.

Ryan Matz, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest