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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Monday - 19 December 2011

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 36 -11 8 T - BC Calm
East Entrance              
Grant Village              
Lake 30 14 16 T 15 BC Calm


Old Faithful              

Snake River

Soda Butte

Thumb Divide

West Entrance              
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 STA
Mammoth to Tower YR Good STA
Tower to NE Entrance YR Good STA
Beartooth Highway 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
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


# 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 Forecast on December 19, 2011
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 24°F and a low around 0°F. Wind chill values as low as -10°F.

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 25°F and a low around 8°F. Wind chill values as low as -15°F. New night time snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a high near 19°F and a low around -6°F. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 14°F and a low around -9°F.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 18°F and a low around 0°F.

Saturday and Sunday: A chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 20°F and a low around 0°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 34 Parker Peak 32
Blackwater 36 Snake River Station 20
Canyon 17 Sylvan Lake 25
Evening Star 33 Sylvan Road 17
Fisher Creek 40 Thumb Divide 19
Grassy Lake 26 Two Ocean Plateau 41
Lewis Lake Divide 27 West Yellowstone 14
Madison Plateau 23 Whiskey Creek 19
Northeast Entrance 10 Wolverine 13

Avalanche Information
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - December 19, 2011 - this report is by Eric Knoff. This advisory does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

Over the past 12 hours a fast moving cold front has swept down from the north, depositing 2 to 3 inches of snow in the mountains around Bozeman and Big Sky. The southern ranges only picked up a trace. Winds spiked during the frontal passage, but have decreased to 5-15 mph out of the North-northwest. Mountain temperatures are currently in the high teens to low 20s Fahrenheit. Snow showers will taper off this morning and skies will become partly cloudy by this afternoon. Today, mountain temperatures will rise into the high 20s Fahrenheit and winds will blow out of North-northwest at 10-20 mph.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

The Bridger and Madison Ranges, the southern Gallatin Range and the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone:

Avalanche forecasters commonly track well developed weak layers such as surface hoar, depth hoar and near surface facets. By mapping the distribution of a weak layer, many times it becomes possible to determine what areas may be unstable. This year is different.

Our snowpack in many areas is essentially one big weak layer. At this point, our primary avalanche concern is areas where well developed slabs are present. If a slab does exist it will likely be resting over non-cohesive, sugary facets - a prime structure for creating avalanches. This weak structure has produced avalanches for local ski patrols doing control work over the past few days.

Yesterday, Doug toured into Beehive Basin looking for a small skier triggered slide which occurred on Friday. He did not locate the slide, but managed to find plenty of weak snow.

On slopes where the snowpack is more than two feet deep, mainly wind loaded slopes, human triggered avalanches are possible and the Avalanche Danger is rated MODERATE. On slopes with less than two feet of snow the Avalanche Danger is rated LOW.

The northern Gallatin Range and mountains around Cooke City:

Mark and I spent the past two days in Cooke City looking/digging for weak snow. We felt like two miners trying to strike it rich. After hours of shoveling and multiple stability tests we concluded our efforts were not going to be rewarded monetarily.

However, our work did pay off and we left feeling satisfied and confident the snowpack is gaining strength. We did occasionally find weak snow willing to react in stability tests, but we concluded it would take a large load or finding a steep slope with an uncharacteristically shallow snowpack to trigger an avalanche.

A similar but slightly weaker snowpack exists in the northern Gallatin Range. Although it's still possible to find weak snow near the ground, recent observations are indicating the pack in this area is also gaining strength. In order to trigger a slide on deeper layers it would require a skier or rider finding the sweet spot. This would most likely be in steep upper elevation terrain where the snowpack is shallow, specifically near rock bands or below ridglines.

While weak snow near the ground is our primary avalanche concern, near surface instabilities such as surface hoar and near surface facets are now buried by a few inches on new snow. This combination could produce small slab avalanches or fast moving sluffs capable of catching a skier or rider off guard

Today, heightened avalanche conditions exist on slopes steeper than 35 degrees where the Avalanche Danger is rated MODERATE. All other slopes have a LOW Avalanche Danger.

The next advisory tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. If you have any snowpack or avalanche observations, drop us a line at or call us at: 406-587-6984.


1. We've recently uploaded more photos and snowpits to our web site, more than what are linked in the advisory.

2. We're creating a series of "How To…" stability test videos. So far we've got clips on performing a CT and ECT. There are located under Stability Tests on the Resources page.

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.

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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