Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecast | SummitDaily.com
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Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecast

DAILY NEWS STAFF REPORT

This is Scott Toepfer at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center with current information on mountain weather, snow, and avalanche conditions at 6:00 am, Tuesday, December 7, 2004.DISCUSSIONUnsettled weather continues today and into tonight as another weak short wave enters the Pacific NW. This one does look a little stronger than the last, so would expect a little more snow as well, especially N and C mtns as flow will be more NW. Jet stream will nudge into northern CO tonight which will help with orographics, but also an increase in blowing snow. A little drying Wednesday morning with snow showers redeveloping Wednesday night. On Thursday High pressure builds off the Southern CA coast putting CO on a more NW flow pattern. Another short wave for Thursday. The forecast details: Northern MountainsTuesday: Clear early then Mostly cloudy, scattered showers, T-2″, Steamboat 2-4″. Wind W/15-25 G50 abv TL. High 12-22.Tuesday night: 2-4″, Steamboat 3-5″. Winds NW 10-20, Gs 30s. Lows 4-14.Wednesday: Cloudy, light snow, 2-4″. Winds W 10-20, Gs 30-40 near TL. Highs 14-24Wednesday Night: Cloudy, continued lite snow to snow showers. Winds remain strong from NW.Central MountainsTuesday: Clear early then mostly cloudy, scattered snow showers, T-2″. Winds WSW/10-20 G30s. Highs 14-24.Tuesday Night: 2-5″. Winds W 10-20, Gs 30s, near TL. Lows 5-15.Wednesday: Cloudy, light snow, 2-3″. Winds W 10-20, Gs 30s near TL. Highs 14-24Wednesday night: Continued snow showers. Winds W 10-20. Lows 5-15Southern MountainsTuesday: Clear early then mostly cloudy, scattered snow showers, T-2″. Winds SW/10-20 G30s. Highs 14-24.Tuesday night: 1-3″. Though T-ride 2-4″. Winds WNW 5-15, Gs 30s near TL. Lows 8-18.Wednesday: Part cloudy am & aftn Cloudy, light snow, 1-3″, T-ride 2-4″. Wind NW 10-20, Gs 30s. Highs15-25Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy, snow showers. Strong NW winds, Lows 5-15 SNOWPACKTwo slides from Sunday the 5th. a small natural in the Wolf Creek area, and one small triggered slide on a west aspect near Telluride, both above TL. One change to the BC avalanche danger. In the Elkhead Mountains of the Steamboat zone, snow and blowing snow has increased the danger to MODERATE with pockets of CONSIDERABLE nr & abv TL, still LOW well below TL. There should not be enough snow & blowing snow to worsen the danger anywhere else. So .The rest of the Steamboat zone . MODERATE above TL and LOW at and below TL.The Front Range and Summit/Vail zones of the Northern Mtns, all the Central Mtns, and the W San Juans . nr & abv TL, MODERATE with pockets of CONSIDERABLE, especially on slopes facing NW-N-SE and any cross-drifted slopes and gullies; well below TL, LOW with pockets of MODERATE. The main concern is still unstable slabs on the steeper, wind-drifted slopes and gullies, with buried surface hoar and/or buried facets being the weak layer. This snowpack is very slowly stabilizing, meaning that trigger points are becoming fewer and further apart. Still though, once failure occurs, cracks can shoot long distances cause sizeable avalanches.The Wolf Creek area . MODERATE on N-E aspects nr & abv TL, LOW on the other aspects and below treeline.Many cold clear nights since the last big storm have helped to create a large change in temperature across the depth of the snowpack. That is the key ingredient for building squareish & weak snow grains. Some of these clear nights helped with the creation of some rather large surface hoar too. These issues will likely lead to an increase in avalanche activity as new snow continues to build on top of these weak old snow layers. The tricky part will be forecasting when we will reach critical mass & see another large avalanche cycle. For more about the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, go to http://geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche/


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