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Colorado Snowpack is Extremely Dangerous and getting Worse

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FEBRUARY 2018 ISSUE |Large & Dangerous
We Have a Deep Problem
After a dry start to the winter, the snowpack in the Colorado mountains is rapidly increasing. The increase in snow over the last few weeks is building a thick slab on top of a weak foundation. This weak layer of snow that sits near the ground has been producing avalanches for most of the winter. With a thicker slab, the avalanches are now much larger. Avalanches are breaking at the ground and are hundreds, sometimes more than a thousand, feet wide. If you get caught, it will be hard to survive.

These are very large Persistent and Deep Persistent Slab avalanches. These types of avalanches are especially dangerous as you may not see the usual signs of unstable snow that you rely on: shooting cracks, rumbling collapses or recent avalanches. The only way to stay safe from these avalanches is to avoid terrain over 30 degrees in the areas that can produce these types of destructive avalanches. The snowpack this winter is unlike the past few winters. The steep slope that you rode safely last season or last month, may now be dangerous.

This is an important time to take a step back and carefully consider the terrain you want to ride. These conditions could last for the rest of the winter. Many of the big avalanche paths that you see in Colorado were formed during avalanche years like this one. Watch the video below and share with your friends. Always get the forecast before you head into the backcountry.

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Let’s cheers to that! Visit Bivouac Coffee’s website today.

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“Breaking on through to the weekend. Plenty of new snow and hidden dangers in the backcountry so be safe. Know b4 you go!”
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2 People have already died in Avalanches this Year. Sign up and Support the Colorado Avalanche Information Center

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Backcountry Avalanche Forecast
Front Range

danger

Summary

We continue to receive reports of avalanches breaking into old, weak snow. Combine this with widespread shooting cracks and large thunderous collapses, and we have plenty of good evidence that dangerous avalanche conditions exist on north and east-facing slopes at higher elevations. The most suspect slopes now have freshly form wind-drifted slabs from the 1 to 4 inches of new snowfall, stacked on top of older early season snow. The slopes with the best coverage are also the slopes where you’re most likely to trigger an avalanche. You can trigger avalanches from a distance and from below, so give this terrain a wide buffer to address the unpredictability.

we now have slabs 1 to 2 feet thick on east-facing slopes, and you might be able to trigger an avalanches in just the freshly drifted snow even in areas that don’t harbor more deeply buried weak layers. Drum-like or hollow sounds underfoot are signs of this problem. You can reduce your risk by avoiding slopes where you observe active wind loading.

Persistent Slab

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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.

Wind Slab

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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.

Weather Forecast for 11,000ft

Issued Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 6:33 AM by Brian Lazar

Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Temperature (ºF) 35 to 40 25 to 30 40 to 45
Wind Speed (mph) 15 to 25 15 to 25 15-25 G50
Wind Direction WNW WNW WNW
Sky Cover Mostly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 to 1 0 0

© 2008-2014 Colorado Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.


CAIC Starting Morning Backcountry Weater Forecasts. If you DO you should Become a Member!

CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Morning Backcountry Weather Forecast

CGS: Colorado Geological Survey

It’s that time of year. You should be a member of CAIC and getting these forecasts.

There have already been two avalanches catching people in North America.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is a program within the Department of Natural Resources.

Weather Discussion

Today is our first day of backcountry weather forecasting for the 2012-2013 season. We begin November with warm and dry conditions as Colorado sits under a weak ridge of high pressure. Daytime high temperatures will climb into the low 50s. The ridge will move east this afternoon, and light to moderate winds will shift from westerly to southwesterly by later this afternoon. High-level cloud cover will increase later this afternoon and overnight.

A cold front and low-pressure trough is moving across Pacific Northwest, and will slide by to our north on Friday. Some cooler air will drop down into Colorado. Daytime highs on Friday will be about 10 degrees cooler than today for the Northern Mountains and 5 degrees cooler elsewhere. Winds will veer to the west northwest on the backside of the passing trough. The next chance for snowfall looks likes its over a week away. It’s too early to start talking about snowfall amounts, but it looks like the storm could produce some decent snowfall. We’ll keep tracking it, and the storm will come into better focus as it nears Colorado.


Steamboat & Flat Tops Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 45 to 50 24 to 29 35 to 40
Wind Speed (mph) 10 to 20 8 to 18 7 to 17
Wind Direction WSW W WNW
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Increasing Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Front Range Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 46 to 51 23 to 28 36 to 41
Wind Speed (mph) 10 to 20 10 to 20 8 to 18
Wind Direction WSW W WNW
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Increasing Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Vail & Summit County Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 47 to 52 21 to 26 37 to 42
Wind Speed (mph) 8 to 18 10 to 20 7 to 17
Wind Direction WSW W W
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Increasing Mostly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Sawatch Range Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 46 to 51 24 to 29 37 to 42
Wind Speed (mph) 7 to 17 10 to 20 10 to 20
Wind Direction W W WNW
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Increasing Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Aspen Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 48 to 53 24 to 29 43 to 48
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 5 to 15 7 to 17
Wind Direction WSW W WNW
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Increasing Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Gunnison Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 49 to 54 28 to 33 44 to 49
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 5 to 15 5 to 15
Wind Direction WSW W W
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Increasing Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Grand Mesa Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 49 to 54 29 to 34 41 to 46
Wind Speed (mph) 2 to 12 2 to 12 3 to 13
Wind Direction WSW WSW W
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Increasing Partly Cloudy
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Northern San Juan Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 49 to 54 26 to 31 44 to 49
Wind Speed (mph) 5 to 15 8 to 18 6 to 16
Wind Direction WSW WSW W
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Mostly Clear Mostly Clear
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Southern San Juan Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 46 to 51 27 to 32 41 to 46
Wind Speed (mph) 7 to 17 8 to 18 5 to 15
Wind Direction SW WSW W
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Mostly Clear Mostly Clear
Snow (in) 0 0 0

Sangre de Cristo Forecast
Fields Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Temperature (°F) 46 to 51 27 to 32 41 to 46
Wind Speed (mph) 10 to 20 10 to 20 10 to 20
Wind Direction WSW W W
Sky Cover Mostly Clear Mostly Clear Mostly Clear
Snow (in) 0 0 0
© 2008 – 2012 Colorado Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.
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