Posted 8:10a.m., Monday, December 27, 2010
Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines have High avalanche danger today. Natural avalanches are likely and human triggered avalanches are very likely. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.
The gift giving season may be over, but that didn’t stop Mother Nature from delivering a belated blast of winter weather. The National Weather Service has issued a BLIZZARD WARNING for much of New Hampshire, including Mt. Washington, until 3pm today. This will make for very dangerous avalanche conditions, so traveling into avalanche terrain today is not recommended. It’ll be best to wait this one out before heading for steep slopes or the runouts below them. I could stop right here and you’ll know all the information you really need to know to travel safely today. However, for snow-starved winter enthusiasts, the details are exciting enough to warrant a full discussion.
On the ground at Pinkham there is already more snow than we expected to see by the end of the day. With the wind whipping it all around it’s difficult to measure exactly, but I’d venture a guess of 14” of low density fluff has fallen so far. Snow will continue to fall during the day while winds will slowly walk their way around from the NE to the NW. Wind speeds today have the potential to exceed the 100mph mark (160kph) as well. This will not only send all the new snow into the avalanche terrain, but also will have the strength to pick up any old snow that had been sitting above treeline waiting for an event like this to transport it into the ravines. I expect the avalanche cycles have already begun, with multiple avalanches still to come during the day.
Ok, so you’re not heading into avalanche terrain but you still want to get out in the mountains? Remember to bring plenty of good quality gear suitable for blizzard conditions. Drifting will be significant everywhere, so some sort of floatation may not be a bad idea, either. In addition to blowing snow, temperatures will plummet today as cold air gets brought in from the north.
- Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory 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.
- Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast. For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin.
- This advisory expires at midnight. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.
Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856