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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Wednesday - February 16, 2011

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 39 3 7 0 40 - Calm / clear
East Entrance 47 7 7 0 35 - Calm / clear
Grant Village 44 10 10 0 44 OC Calm
Lake 43 10 17 0 41 - Calm / clear
Lamar 48 8 22 0 25 BC E@4-7mph
Madison 43 -1 10 0 30 - Calm / clear
Mammoth 45 34 34 T 17 SC SE@9mph / gust 15mph
Old Faithful 42 16 36 0 28 BC SSW@10-15mph
Snake River 47 6 6 0 47 - Calm / clear
Tower 48 12 19 0 27 SC S@10-12mph
West Entrance 45 8 13 0 35 SC Calm
T=Trace / BC=Broken Clouds / OC=Overcast / SC=Scattered Clouds
All Temperatures are in °F ~ All Snow Depths are in Inches

* * * Road Conditions * * *
Road Section Status Conditions Public Access / Info
Gardiner to Mammoth YR Good STR
Mammoth to Tower YR Good STR
Tower to NE Entrance YR Fair STR
Beartooth Highway CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Canyon to Lake Open Poor Oversnow - Large Drifts
Firehole Canyon Drive Open - Oversnow - Snowcoaches only in the morning
Grant to South Entrance Open Good Oversnow
Junction to Chief Joseph Hwy CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Lake to East Entrance Open Good Oversnow
Lake to West Thumb Open - Oversnow
Madison to Old Faithful Open Good Oversnow
Madison to West Yellowstone Open - Oversnow
Mammoth to Norris Open Good Oversnow
Norris to Canyon Open Good Oversnow
Norris to Madison Open Good Oversnow
Old Faithful to Grant Open - Oversnow

YR=Year Round / NR=No Restrictions / STA=Snow Tires Advised / STR=Snow Tires Required


# 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 ********


Yellowstone Seven Day Forecast on February 16, 2011
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY

Today...Breezy...cloudy. Slight chance of snow in the morning... Then snow and rain likely in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches. Highs 32°F to 38°F. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

Tonight...Snow. Snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Lows 10°F to 16°F. Southwest winds around 15 mph until early morning. Chance of snow near 100 percent.

Thursday...Colder. Snow likely. Snow accumulation around 1 inch. Total snow accumulation 3 to 6 inches. Highs 18°F to 24°F. West winds around 15 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent.

Thursday Night...Breezy. Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow. Lows 7°F to 13°F. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph.

Friday...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Highs 21°F to 27°F.

Friday Night...Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. A 30 percent chance of snow. Lows 11°F to 17°F.

Saturday...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Highs 28°F to 34°F.

Saturday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Lows 10°F to 16°F.

Sunday...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs 25°F to 31°F.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Lows 6°F to 12°F.

Presidents' Day / Monday...Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 21°F to 27°F.

Presidents' Day / Monday Night...Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow. Lows 8°F to 14°F.

Tuesday...Partly cloudy in the morning then becoming mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 24°F to 30°F.

Snowflake Hazardous Weather Snowflake Gibbon Falls Forecast Snowflake Mammoth Forecast Snowflake Midway Forecast Snowflake Norris Forecast Snowflake Old Faithful Forecast Snowflake

* * * Snow Depth Totals as reported at SNOTELs * * *
Station Depth (inches) Station Depth (inches)
Black Bear 88 Parker Peak 74
Blackwater 59 Snake River Station -
Canyon 44 Sylvan Lake 54
Evening Star 72 Sylvan Road 41
Fisher Creek 88 Thumb Divide 46
Grassy Lake 76 Two Ocean Plateau 68
Lewis Lake Divide 71 West Yellowstone 37
Madison Plateau 58 Whiskey Creek 47
Northeast Entrance 35 Wolverine 36

Avalanche Information
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - February 16, 2011 - this report is by Doug Chabot

Mountain Weather

West winds picked up again yesterday and averaged 30-40 mph with gusts hitting 60-80 mph as temperatures reached the high thirties before falling to the low twenties last night. Currently west-southwest winds are blowing 20-40, except around Cooke City where they are 30-60 mph. Today, expect increasing clouds from a moist, southwest flow and snowfall later this afternoon lasting into tomorrow. Cooke City is poised to get the brunt of the storm. By morning the southern mountains could have 8-10 inches of new snow with half that amount falling in the northern areas.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

The Bridger Range:

Yesterday, Mark, Eric, Karl and I joined folks from Bridger Bowl to investigate the avalanche that killed a snowboarder on the west side of the range two days ago. Although the slide was only 50 feet wide, it was a three foot thick hard slab of windblown snow that broke on a 40-45 degree slope and pulled even more slabs off its flanks. The crown depth tapered quickly from a whale-sized drift of snow on its southern edge to a thin slab only inches deep mid-gully. Thick drifts are all over the place, but in most cases are bonded to the old snow surface. This slide was triggered near the top of the path and funneled debris through small, but not insignificant trees over 1,300 vertical feet. The victim was carried 1,100 feet downhill and came to rest with his head under 5 feet of dense debris. The load of windblown snow from the weekend was a heavy burden. Large loading events do not need a persistent weak layer for avalanches to occur. This avalanche broke on small grains of lighter density snow which happened to be the weakest layer in the snowpack. Although the snowpack investigation yielded no surprises, standing at the top of the path was gut wrenching. The terrain on the west side of Bridger Bowl is steep, serious and unforgiving. All slopes lead into trees, steep gullies or over cliffs. Most of the wind whales are bonded into place and are not cracking or avalanching. But as the two snowboarders found out on Monday, there are still some that can be broken free, especially at its thinner edges where fractures can propagate under the meatiest slab.

Given the tricky nature of analyzing these slopes, plus the fact that the winds have not died down, I'm rating the Avalanche Danger is rated MODERATE on all slopes today.

Five photos from our investigation: / Video from the avalanche path:

The Madison and Gallatin Ranges, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone, the mountains around Cooke City and the Washburn Range:

Winds are blowing throughout southwest Montana. In most areas the snow surface is a mixed bag of hard sastrugi and sun or wind crusts which look like Neil Armstrong's photos of the moon. Both Big Sky and Moonlight Basin Ski Patrols reported strong winds (the fourth in a row of 50+ mph winds) still eroding exposed terrain. Wind-loaded slopes have the greatest instability, especially on slopes that got huge drifts from the weekend. I saw numerous slides in the Taylor Fork area on Sunday while Eric saw thinner wind slabs breaking around Lionhead on Monday. Because there is not a persistent weak layer underlying these wind slabs, their likelihood of being triggered is very individualized. If you find stable drifts on one slope, do not assume the same for one adjacent. These slabs are getting harder to trigger, but it's still possible.

For this reason the Avalanche Danger is rated MODERATE on all wind-loaded slopes. Slopes without a wind-load have a LOW Avalanche Danger.

Information provided by Doug Chabot, Mark Staples, and Eric Knoff from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. For Photos and Videos, please visit the Avalanche Centers Website!

If you have any snowpack or avalanche observations, drop them a line at or call: 406-587-6984.

For detailed Avalanche Terms utilized here, please see the Avalanche Glossary.

3rd Annual Montana Ale Works Fundraiser

When & Where: March 1, Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. in the Railcar.

Cost: $20 to benefit the Friends of the Avalanche Center

Details: Chef Roth at Montana Ale Works is creating tapas style servings that will be paired with select beer from Lone Peak Brewery. More information HERE.


West Yellowstone: Beacon Park Operational

Skiing or riding near West Yellowstone? Test your beacon skills at a beacon park near the old airport where you can search for pre-placed beacons switched on/off by a control panel. Look for it by orange snow fence and signage just south of the snow cross track.

Avalanche Danger Scale

Back to the Yellowstone Daily Winter Reports or the Yellowstone Weather Page

Information provided by Yellowstone National Park, National Weather Service and Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center

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