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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Friday - 23 December 2011

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 17 -23 -21 0 17 C Calm
East Entrance 19 -11 -7 0 17 C Calm
Grant Village 5 -20 -18 0 24 C Calm
Lake 11 -13 -12 0 16 SC Calm
Lamar - - - - - - -
Madison 14 -22 -19 0 13 C Calm
Mammoth - - - - - - -
Old Faithful - - - 0 12 C Calm
Pahaska - - - - - - -
Snake River 10 -21 -20 0 24 C Calm
Soda Butte - - - - - - -
Thumb Divide - - - - - - -
Tower - - - - - - -
West Entrance - - - 0 15 C Calm
BC=Broken Clouds / C=Clear / OC=Overcast / SC=Scattered Clouds / T=Trace
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 Good STR
Beartooth Highway CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Firehole Canyon Drive CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Grant to South Entrance Open   All oversnow vehicles
Junction to Chief Joseph Hwy CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Lake to East Entrance Open   All oversnow vehicles
Lake to West Thumb Open   All oversnow vehicles
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   All oversnow 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 23, 2011
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY

Friday: Patchy fog before 11:00am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 26°F. Wind chill values as low as -15°F. South wind between 5 and 7 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11°F. Wind chill values as low as 0°F. Southwest wind between 7 and 9 mph.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 32°F. South southeast wind between 5 and 7 mph.

Sunday / Christmas Day: Patchy fog before 11:00 am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 34°F. South southwest wind between 9 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 30°F.

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 32°F.

Wednesday: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 35°F.

Thursday: A slight chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 37°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 40 Parker Peak 35
Blackwater 41 Snake River Station 19
Canyon 20 Sylvan Lake 28
Evening Star 35 Sylvan Road 18
Fisher Creek 41 Thumb Divide 20
Grassy Lake 33 Two Ocean Plateau 44
Lewis Lake Divide 30 West Yellowstone 16
Madison Plateau 27 Whiskey Creek 21
Northeast Entrance 10 Wolverine 14

Avalanche Information
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - December 23, 2011 - this report is by Mark Staples. This advisory does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday was beautiful and clear but winds increased in the afternoon. This morning on ridgetops at Bridger Bowl and Hyalite Canyon winds were blowing 25-30 mph with gusts 40-50 mph from the West and Northwest. In other areas winds were blowing 15 mph gusting to 30 mph. Temperatures this morning were in the teens Fahrenheit and will climb into the 20s Fahrenheit today. Winds will remain strong generally blowing 15-30 from the Northwest; however, some downslope winds will occur today. It looks like the boys and girls of Southwest Montana have been bad this year and will not get any snow for Christmas. Instead of coal in our stockings, it looks like we'll get a good dose of wind.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

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

Weak snow continues to plague much of Southwest Montana, but finding avalanches today will require finding wind loaded slopes. Recent winds scoured many slopes typically wind loaded and blew snow onto others that are typically not. Additionally, increased winds today may start loading some slopes not at the top but further down, mid-path.

Yesterday on Lionhead, Doug and Eric found many East facing avalanche starting zones scoured of all the new snow. They were able to see Eric's snowpits from nearly 1 month ago. The snowpack near West Yellowstone has weakened everyday during that time. Further north, recent snowfall dodged the Bridger Range but winds have not. In that area wind slabs may not as large as in other areas, but they should fracture just as easily.

In Hyalite Canyon yesterday I was fortunate to ski with two experienced, avalanche professionals. We experienced no collapsing or cracking, and from the top of Palace Butte could only find one recent natural avalanche. Other parties in the area reported similar findings, and these reports are promising given the heavy load of new snow. The Hyalite area has received more snow than other areas and has a stronger snowpack than other areas. It is slowly earning my trust, but we remained cautious as this snowfall was the first big test for this snowpack. Yesterday winds were confined to ridgetops but today they should affect more areas and keep the avalanche danger elevated. Cooke City has a similar snowpack.

Although the snow storm ended Wednesday, the "wind storm" began yesterday afternoon. Some natural avalanches should occur on wind loaded slopes, and human triggered avalanches will be likely on these slopes.

For today a CONSIDERABLE Avalanche Danger exists on all wind loaded slopes. With a generally weak snowpack and a good dose of new snow, avalanches are definitely possible on slopes not affected by the wind where a MODERATE Avalanche Danger exists.

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.

3. Check out all our education programs, Click Here.

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