Avalanche Forecast for Sunday, February 10, 2019

This information was published 02/10/2019 at 6:34 AM.
A new forecast will be issued tomorrow.


This is an archived avalanche forecast and expired on 02/10/2019 at midnight.

The Bottom Line

A stable snowpack exists thanks to a warm and wet week followed by a bitter cold and windy weekend. Avalanche problems will be hard to find today and are greatly overshadowed by the potential for long sliding falls. All areas have LOW avalanche danger.

The significance of a long, sliding fall and danger of a small stumble on seemingly benign terrain cannot be overstated. If you have not practiced self arrest with an ice axe you should. If you have practiced, you know that the effectiveness of this skill is limited in the hard icy snow you’ll encounter in the mountains today. In these conditions, very careful movement is necessary to prevent a fall from happening in the first place. Put crampons on before slopes steepen and get your ice axe out and ready before you expect to need it. Crampons and ice axes cause injuries almost as often as they prevent them, so never practice self arrest with crampons on or on a slope without a clean and flat runout.

Printable 2019-02-10

Mountain Weather

Every weekday this past week saw high temperatures at or above freezing on the summit. The hard freeze began Friday morning with temperatures on the summit bottoming at -13F. Extreme wind was also in play as Saturday’s wind averaged 87 mph with a gust of 148 mph. Friday and Saturday each came with a 0.2” of snow recorded on the summit and a trace falling Friday at Hermit Lake and Grey Knob snow plots. Today, NW wind in the 60-80 mph range will decrease just slightly through the day. Current temperatures at the summit (-11F) and Hermit Lake (-2F) will increase by about 10F. Morning summit fog should clear out before high clouds arrive in the afternoon. No snow is forecast until Tuesday afternoon.

Forecast Discussion

The melt/freeze crust that developed from this past week’s weather should now be supportable at mid and high elevations. Observations from yesterday indicated that the crust was breakable in the trees and at elevations below 3500’. Small, isolated pockets of wind slab may exist in sheltered areas below cliffs, rocks, or other terrain features, but the limited snow available for transport combined with wind speed seems to have moved most snow into the trees and out of avalanche terrain. While this past week left us with a crust, the minimal amount of rain that fell meant that we did not lose much snow. Height of snow at the Hermit Lake snowplot is down about 6” and Gray Knob is down close to 8”. The storm arriving Tuesday night should help replace this loss, though it will fall on the icy crust that will provide an ideal bed surface for future avalanche cycles.

Additional Information

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

Snow Plot Information

Density (%)HSTTotalAir TT MaxT MinSkyPrecipComments
0 CMTrace 0CM103 CM-18.5 C-12.0 C-22.0 COvercastNo precipitationView
22 CM 16.6 MM 9%26CM107 CM-20.0 C-4.0 C-22.0 CFewNo precipitation
3 CM 2.9 MM 11%NC85 CM-7.0 C-4.0 C-7.0 COvercastSnow
2 CM MM 16%NC82 CM-4.0 C-3.5 C-7.0 COvercastSnowView
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)

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 02/10/2019 at 6:34 AM.

Helon Hoffer
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest