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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Monday - January 31, 2011

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 31 -5 -3 T 41   Calm / Clear
East Entrance 36 -2 1 1 36 SC W@5mph
Grant Village 20 -6 6 0 46 SC Calm
Lake 34 1 3 1 41 OC Calm
Lamar 37 -8 -5 T 27 OC SW@1-3mph
Madison 21 -4 4 0 29 SC Calm
Mammoth 31 -6 -3 .5 20 SC SW@1-3mph
Old Faithful 36 -8 -8 0 29 SC Calm
Snake River 23 6 11 0 52 SC Calm
Tower 41 -8 -7 .5 26 SC SW@6-8mph
West Entrance 37 -7 -6 0 36 OC 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 Fair STR
Mammoth to Tower YR Fair STR
Tower to NE Entrance YR Fair STR
Beartooth Highway CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Canyon to Lake Open Fair Oversnow
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 Good Oversnow
Madison to Old Faithful Open Good Oversnow
Madison to West Yellowstone Open Good Oversnow
Mammoth to Norris Open Fair Oversnow
Norris to Canyon Open Fair Oversnow
Norris to Madison Open Good Oversnow
Old Faithful to Grant Open Good 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 31 January 2011
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY

Rest Of Today...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow. Highs 4°F to 10°F. North winds around 15 mph late in the afternoon.

Tonight...Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow in the evening. Lows -22°F to -28°F. North winds around 15 mph. Lowest wind chill readings -42°F to -52°F in the late evening and overnight.

Tuesday...Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow in the afternoon. Highs -6°F to 0°F. Lowest wind chill readings -41°F to -51°F early in the morning.

Tuesday Night...Mostly clear. Lows -20°F to -30°F.

Wednesday...Not as cold. Partly cloudy. Highs 10°F to 16°F. Lowest wind chill readings -34°F to -44°F early in the morning.

Wednesday Night...Not as cold. Partly cloudy. Lows -2°F to 4°F.

Thursday...Not as cold. Mostly cloudy in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. Highs 24°F to 30°F.

Thursday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows 8°F to 14°F.

Friday...Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 26°F to 32°F.

Friday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Lows 12°F to 18°F.

Saturday...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Highs 23°F to 29°F.

Saturday Night...Colder. Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Lows 4°F to 10°F.

Sunday...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs 19°F to 25°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 85 Parker Peak 77
Blackwater 56 Snake River Station 28
Canyon 42 Sylvan Lake 54
Evening Star 78 Sylvan Road 40
Fisher Creek 86 Thumb Divide 45
Grassy Lake 76 Two Ocean Plateau 67
Lewis Lake Divide 73 West Yellowstone 35
Madison Plateau 56 Whiskey Creek 46
Northeast Entrance 33 Wolverine 40

Avalanche Information
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - January 31, 2011 - this report is by Eric Knoff

Mountain Weather

Over the past 24 hours, 2-3 inches of low density snow has fallen in the mountains around Cooke City, while the rest of our advisory area picked up 1-2 inches. Temperatures have been on the decline as a cold arctic air mass continues to work its way into southwest Montana. Currently, mountain temperatures are ranging from -10 Fahrenheit on the ridge at Bridger Bowl to the single digits above zero in the mountains around West Yellowstone. Winds are blowing 10-20 mph out of the West-North-West producing a very cold wind chill factor. With the cold air settling in, temperatures will work to reach 10 degrees above zero today and winds will stay out of the West-North-West at 10-15 mph. No new snow is expected over the next 24 hours.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

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

The lipstick has officially been added to the pig. Over the past 24 hours, 1-3 inches of low density snow has fallen over a variety of snow surfaces - including compressed/recycled powder, sun crusts, wind crusts and everything in-between. The soft, nearly weightless nature of the new snow has not added enough weight to the snowpack to cause widespread problems. However, the new snow will likely bond poorly to the old snow surface, making any steep slope with recently wind deposited snow a potential hazard. Nearly all avalanche activity will stay confined to the new snow - in fact, skiing fresh slough debris may be the best conditions out there today.

A less likely, but not impossible scenario is the release of a deeper hard slab. A pesky trait of hard slabs is they often don't exhibit signs of instability such as cracking or collapsing; they many times surprise release, often catching the person who triggered them off guard. Currently, the most likely areas to find and trigger a hard slab is in places where the snowpack is shallow - mainly around rock outcroppings and highly wind affected areas near ridgelines. Yesterday, skiers in Dudley Creek near Big Sky observed the remnants of a recent slide that broke up to 6 feet deep on a Southeast facing slope. This slide was likely the result of a hard slab sitting over weak, faceted snow near the ground.

Another problematic trend is the development of weak snow on the surface that has now been capped by the new snow. Surface hoar, near surface facets, and facet-crust combinations have been observed throughout our advisory area. Slopes that have received recent wind loading will likely be sensitive to human triggers, producing heightened avalanche conditions in wind loaded terrain. Also, the new snow itself will be subject to faceting as it gets worked by the cold temperatures over the next few days. This latest round of new snow is not enough to sound the avalanche alarm, but it will likely become a problem for future loads.

For today, human triggered avalanches are possible on wind loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees where the Avalanche Danger is rated MODERATE. All other slopes have LOW Avalanche Danger.

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.


The 9th Annual King and Queen of the Ridge will be held at Bridger Bowl on Saturday, February 12. ALL proceeds go to the Friends of the Avalanche Center who use the money to promote avalanche education in southwest Montana. Last winter we taught 64 classes reaching over 4,900 people. You can help raise money to continue this education in 2 ways:

1). Get pledges and hike the ridge. You don't have to do 20 laps – you can get flat pledges and hike just once! Or you can test your mettle and try and break John Yarington's record of 29 laps in 5 hours.

2). Sponsor someone. If you don't have someone to sponsor, consider sponsoring the GNFAC since we'll be hiking for dollars. Click Here for more information and registration forms.

Information provided by Doug Chabot, Mark Staples, and Eric Knoff from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

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.

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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