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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Monday - 26 December 2011

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 31 -9 -4 0 16 C Calm
East Entrance 41 3 19 0 17 BC Calm
Grant Village 27 -3 12 0 21 BC W@5-10mph
Lake - - - - - - -
Lamar - - - - - - -
Madison 23 -22 1 0 12 C Calm
Mammoth 42 16 20 0 5.5 SC S@2-5mph
Old Faithful 39 -4 14 0 13 C Calm
Pahaska - - - - - - -
Snake River 24 -11 2 0 22 C Calm
Soda Butte - - - - - - -
Thumb Divide - - - - - - -
Tower 28 2 12 0 11 BC S@8-10mph
West Entrance 26 -12 7 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 26, 2011
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY

Monday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29°F. Southwest wind between 7 and 11 mph.

Monday Night: Cloudy, with a low around 18°F. South southwest wind between 11 and 13 mph.

Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32°F. Southwest wind between 14 and 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

Wednesday: Snow likely, mainly after 11:00 am. Cloudy, with a high near 36°F. Breezy, with a southwest wind between 15 and 22 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Thursday: A chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 39°F. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Friday: A 20 percent chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 34°F.

Saturday: A slight chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 32°F.

Sunday / New Year's Day: Mostly sunny, with a high near 32°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 37 Parker Peak 34
Blackwater 39 Snake River Station 21
Canyon 19 Sylvan Lake 26
Evening Star 34 Sylvan Road 18
Fisher Creek 39 Thumb Divide 21
Grassy Lake 30 Two Ocean Plateau 42
Lewis Lake Divide 30 West Yellowstone 16
Madison Plateau 26 Whiskey Creek 21
Northeast Entrance 12 Wolverine 14

Avalanche Information
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - December 26, 2011 - this report is by Eric Knoff. This advisory does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

A dry-upper level weather disturbance is moving across southwest Montana producing strong gusty winds. This morning winds are blowing 20-40 mph out of the West-northwest with gusts reaching into the 50s. Mountain temperatures are in the mid teens to low twenties Fahrenheit with Cooke City being the coldest at 9°F. Today, temperatures will warm into the upper twenties Fahrenheit and winds will stay elevated through the morning hours with gusts in the 50s possible. Winds will gradually decrease this afternoon. A cool and dry pattern will persist over southwest Montana through Tuesday.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

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

Weather patterns this winter have been sporadic, making for variable snow conditions in our forecast area. Storms have been selective in their distribution of both snow and wind - developing unique snowpacks in individual ranges and even areas of the same range. Some areas have a deeper-stronger snowpack, mainly the northern Gallatin Range and mountains around Cooke City, while other locations consist of, as one friend puts it, "facet castles masquerading as a snowpack."

Yesterday, my partner and I took a pleasant walk up Mount Ellis. The snowpack from the meadow to the summit was comprised almost entirely of facets, making it possible to dig directly to the ground with my hand. On Friday, skiers in Beehive Basin found a different and more unstable snowpack. A two foot slab resting over facets near the ground provided an unstable structure capable of producing an avalanche.

Despite warm-calm weather at lower elevations yesterday, taller peaks in the northern Gallatin and Madison Ranges had large plumes of snow billowing off their summits most of the afternoon - visual evidence that active wind loading was taking place.

Today's primary avalanche concern is wind loaded slopes. Strong winds out of the west make upper elevation slopes with an easterly component the most prone to unstable snow.

Today - Human triggered avalanches are likely on wind loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees where the Avalanche Danger is rated CONSIDERABLE. All other slopes have a MODERATE Avalanche Danger.

The Bridger Range:

The Bridger Range just doesn't have enough snow to harbor widespread instability. Most slopes have a thin-shallow snowpack lacking a slab. Mark and I found this type of snowpack on the Apron this past Saturday. However, upper elevation slopes, specifically those below ridgelines, do hold isolated pockets of wind drifted snow capable of producing an avalanche. The tricky part about this scenario is wind loaded slopes will provide the deepest snow cover and better riding conditions. If you are skiing or riding in the Brdiger Range, be cautious in wind loaded terrain and always be thinking about the consequences of an avalanche.

Today – Human triggered avalanches are possible on wind loaded slopes which have a MODERATE Avalanche Danger. Non-wind loaded 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.

Beacon Parks

The Friends of the Avalanche Center installed a Beacon Training Park outside West Yellowstone last Friday. It's located south of town on the main snowmobile trail. Stop by and do a quick practice before heading off into the mountains!


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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