Daily Winter Weather Report
Date: Saturday - December 17, 2011
|Station||Max Temp||Min Temp||Pres Temp||New Snow||Depth||Sky||Present Conditions|
|Road Section||Status||Conditions||Public Access / Info|
|Gardiner to Mammoth||YR||Good||STA|
|Mammoth to Tower||YR||Good||STA|
|Tower to NE Entrance||YR||Good||STA|
|Beartooth Highway||CLOSED *||CLOSED *||CLOSED *|
|Canyon to Lake||CLOSED||CLOSED||CLOSED|
|Firehole Canyon Drive||CLOSED||CLOSED||CLOSED|
|Grant to South Entrance||Open||Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles|
|Junction to Chief Joseph Hwy||CLOSED *||CLOSED *||CLOSED *|
|Lake to East Entrance||CLOSED||CLOSED||CLOSED|
|Lake to West Thumb||CLOSED||CLOSED||CLOSED|
|Madison to Old Faithful||Open||Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles|
|Madison to West Yellowstone||Open||Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles|
|Mammoth to Norris||Open||Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles|
|Norris to Canyon||Open||Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles|
|Norris to Madison||Open||Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles|
|Old Faithful to Grant||Open||Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles|
|Tower to Canyon||CLOSED *||CLOSED *||CLOSED *|
YR=Year Round / NR=No Restrictions / STA=Snow Tires Advised / STR=Snow Tires Required
* NOTE: CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.
# Poor road conditions - bare spots and melting snow - Restricted to Snowcoaches Only.
The park service plowing schedule for roads for the spring season.
******** FOR CURRENT ROAD INFORMATION PLEASE CALL 307-344-2117 ********
No travel is allowed past Canyon VC, so the rim drives are not open to the public at this time.
East Entrance road is closed to wheeled vehicles.
Dangerous avalanche conditions may already exist in many back country areas, please call the Recorded Avalanche Advisory 406-587-6981 for the most current conditions.
Caution advised for snow falling off of building roofs. Park accordingly.
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 29°F and a low around 5°F. Wind chill values as low as -5°F. West southwest wind around 6 mph.
Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 28°F and a low around 3°F. Southwest wind around 8 mph.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 24°F and a low around -3°F. North northeast wind between 3 and 5 mph.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 23°F and a low around 4°F.
Wednesday: A slight chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 20°F and a low around 1°F.
Thursday: A slight chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 15°F and a low around -8°F.
|* * * Snow Depth Totals as reported at SNOTELs * * *|
|Station||Depth (inches)||Station||Depth (inches)|
|Black Bear||35||Parker Peak||33|
|Blackwater||36||Snake River Station||19|
|Evening Star||35||Sylvan Road||17|
|Fisher Creek||43||Thumb Divide||20|
|Grassy Lake||27||Two Ocean Plateau||42|
|Lewis Lake Divide||29||West Yellowstone||14|
|Madison Plateau||24||Whiskey Creek||19|
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - December 17, 2011 - this report is by Mark Staples. This advisory does not apply to operating ski areas.
This morning temperatures were near 20 degrees Fahrenheit except near Cooke City and West Yellowstone where temperatures were near 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Winds this morning varied across the region blowing from all directions on the western half of the compass. At ridgetops near Bridger and Hyalite Canyon winds were blowing 20-40 mph, near Big Sky 5-15 mph, and further south near West Yellowstone and Cooke City 5-10 mph. No snow fell overnight and none is expected today which will have mostly sunny skies and temperatures approaching 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Westerly winds will blow 10-20 mph.
Curious why La Nina hasn't brought more snow to Southwest Montana? Read a brief explanation from the National Weather Service office in Missoula here.
Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:
The Bridger, Gallatin and Madison Ranges, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone and mountains around Cooke City:
The snowpack is weak in most places especially where it is less than 2 feet deep. Near West Yellowstone yesterday during an avalanche class, Eric found a snowpack that is one big weak layer containing depth hoar, near-surface facets, and surface hoar. Similar conditions can be found in many other areas. The missing ingredient for an avalanche in these areas is a slab.
Some places have a slab on top of the snowpack. Near Beehive Basin yesterday, skiers found a recent human triggered avalanche about 8 inches deep and 10 feet wide. This avalanche slid on weak faceted crystals that formed on the snow surface prior to Wednesday's snowfall. While most areas only received a few inches from that storm, upper parts of Lone Mountain received 8-12 inches. Watch for isolated areas with this much new snow OR places with wind deposited snow. These areas have a slab that can produce human triggered avalanches.
Other places have a slab in the middle of the snowpack. The mountains near Cooke City and Hyalite Canyon have a snowpack with depth hoar crystals near the ground, a slab in the middle, and more facets on top. In these places the snowpack has not been stressed with significant snowfall. (What is significant snowfall? See note below.) In areas like these, the snowpack has all the ingredients for an avalanche. While human triggered avalanches are not likely, they remain possible.
Today, slopes with a snowpack deeper than 2 feet have a slab and a weak layer present making human triggered avalanche possible. These slopes or any with wind deposited snow have a MODERATE Avalanche Danger. Slopes without wind deposited snow and a shallow snowpack less than 2 feet do not have a slab to make an avalanche. These slopes have a LOW Avalanche Danger.
What is significant snowfall? When assessing stability we care how much weight was added to the snowpack. Because some snow is wet and heavy and other snow is light and fluffy, we focus on the amount of water contained in this snow. The measurement is called snow water equivalent (SWE). It is how much water you would have if you melted the snow. Luckily an extensive network of remote SNOTEL sites measures SWE. During winter in Montana 1 inch of SWE usually means about 1 foot of snow, and this is a significant amount if it falls in less than 24 hours. With such a weak snowpack right now, even a .5 inch of SWE falling overnight would be concerning.
The next advisory tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. If you have any snowpack or avalanche observations, drop us a line at email@example.com or call us at: 406-587-6984.
PHOTOS, SNOWPITS, and VIDEOS
If you have any snowpack or avalanche observations, drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 406-587-6984.
For detailed Avalanche Terms utilized here, please see the Avalanche Glossary.
Information provided by Yellowstone National Park, National Weather Service and Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center
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