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Western Wyoming PM Forecast

Issued on Thursday, February 01, 2018 6:05 PM

Situation

Last night, two to five inches of light snow fell at the higher elevations of the Teton and Togwotee Pass areas while the Southwest Trails area received minimal accumulations. Near sunrise, skies mostly cleared allowing for a mostly sunny morning. As the day progressed, clouds formed at peak level and higher cloud cover slowly thickened. Temperatures at 9000 feet rose from the single digits to the upper teens. Winds on Rendezvous were from the west-southwest with ten to twenty-two miles per hour averages. Given the light to moderate winds and new snow densities of 5% at the higher elevations, hazard involving the newest snow was virtually non-existent. This new layer has fallen on loose powder and sun-crusts on south facing terrain and could prove to be a poor interface as warmer and denser snow falls upon it over the weekend. The persistent weak snow layers formed in December and the late November crust continue to be the primary concern. These layers can be found almost anywhere above 7500 feet but with time they continue to vary more and more in their specific structure and their behavior to structure tests. Understanding the slab properties that sits on these layers is important to predicting current and future snowpack strength.

Forecast for Friday, February 02, 2018

Light snowfall is to develop overnight, become moderate Friday morning, and continue through the afternoon and evening. Brief periods of heavy snowfall are possible. Temperatures are to be warmer with mountain highs in the upper twenties. West winds are to have twenty to thirty miles per hour averages. Four to six inches of snow is expected by nightfall. Less snow is expected in the valleys where temperatures could reach the mid thirties. The general avalanche hazard will be Moderate above 7500 feet and low below that elevation. Although the sensitivity has decreased, the chance continues for backcountry enthusiasts to trigger large avalanches involving persistent weak snow layers buried in December. As new snow accumulates throughout the day, the sensitivity of the persistent hazard will increase and new shallow wind slabs will develop along ridge crests and nearby cliff areas.

Trend for Saturday, February 03, 2018 and Sunday, Febraury 04, 2018

Upper level disturbances in northwest flow are to continue to deliver snow to the area over the weekend. Snowfall rates will be light to heavy as these systems move through. Temperatures will remain on the warmer side with mountain highs in the upper twenties. West winds are to be moderate to strong with averages over thirty miles per hour at times. The general avalanche hazard will increase if significant snowfall occurs. Similar to the last storm period and resulting avalanche cycle, the sensitivity of the deep slabs will increase and new wind slab hazards will develop throughout avalanche terrain.

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