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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Sunday - 05 February 2012

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 35 -20 -18 0 33 C Calm
East Entrance 35 -13 -9 0 32 C Calm
Grant Village 37 -15 37 0 40 C Calm
Lake 25 -10 -10 0 33 C Calm
Lamar 23 -17 -13 0 12 C Calm
Madison 27 -17 -13 0 21 C Calm
Mammoth 40 6 10 0 5 C SE@3mph
Old Faithful 38 -14 -9 0 30 C Calm
Pahaska 6 0 -1 0 - C Calm
Snake River 32 -16 -15 0 58 C Calm
Soda Butte -5 -14 -14 T - C Calm
Thumb Divide -5 -15 -14 0 - C Calm
Tower 22 -8 -6 0 17 C SW@1-3mph
West Entrance 28 -17 -17 0 33 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   Snow Tires Required
Mammoth to Tower YR   Snow Tires Required
Tower to NE Entrance YR   Snow Tires Required
Beartooth Highway CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Canyon to Lake Open   All oversnow vehicles
Canyon to Tower CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Firehole Canyon Drive CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Grant to South Entrance Open Good 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 Good All oversnow vehicles
Madison to West Yellowstone Open Good All oversnow vehicles
Mammoth to Norris Open Good All oversnow vehicles
Norris to Canyon Open Good All oversnow vehicles
Norris to Madison Open Fair All oversnow vehicles
Old Faithful to Grant Open   All oversnow vehicles

YR = Open Year Round / NR = No Restrictions


# 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 05 February 2012
by the National Weather Service Riverton, Wyoming

Today...Sunny. Patchy fog in the morning. Highs 28°F to 34°F.

Tonight...Partly cloudy in the evening then clearing. Lows 2°F to 8°F.

Monday...Partly cloudy. Highs 24°F to 30°F.

Monday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows 0°F to 6°F.

Tuesday...Partly cloudy in the morning then clearing. Highs 24°F to 30°F.

Tuesday Night...Mostly clear. Lows 4°F to 10°F.

Wednesday...Partly cloudy. Highs 24°F to 30°F.

Wednesday Night...Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Lows 8°F to 14°F.

Thursday...Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 24°F to 30°F.

Thursday Night...Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Lows 4°F to 10°F.

Friday...Partly cloudy. Highs 27°F to 33°F.

Friday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows 10°F to 16°F.

Saturday...Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 27°F to 33°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 80 Parker Peak 57
Blackwater 61 Snake River Station 51
Canyon 38 Sylvan Lake 46
Evening Star 71 Sylvan Road 36
Fisher Creek 81 Thumb Divide 43
Grassy Lake 75 Two Ocean Plateau 81
Lewis Lake Divide 70 West Yellowstone 31
Madison Plateau 51 Whiskey Creek 40
Northeast Entrance 28 Wolverine 27

Avalanche Information
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - 05 February 2012 - 7:30 am - this report is by Eric Knoff. This advisory does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

Southwest Montana remains under a dominating ridge of high pressure. Currently skies are clear and temperatures are in the mid teens to low twenties with the exception of a few areas near West Yellowstone and Cooke City which are in the single digits. Winds are light out of the W blowing 5-15 mph. Today will be a near carbon copy of yesterday. Plenty of sunshine will allow mountain temperatures to climb into the mid to upper 30s and winds will stay light out of west at 5-15 mph.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

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

The mountains around Cooke City have the deepest snowpack out in our forecast area. Currently, the Fisher Creek Snotel site is recording a settled base depth of 81 inches. The top 3 to 4 feet consist of a dense slab, which in many areas it is resting over weaker snow near the ground. This is a recipe for deep slab instability, a scenario that is tricky and dangerous for many reasons.

  • Impacting the weak layer under a slab 3 to 4 feet thick requires finding the right spot on the right slope, also known as the sweet spot or trigger point.
  • The snowpack will often feel supportable and stable, providing a false sense of security.
  • Due to the strong and supportable nature of the slab, many riders may a hit a slope before it avalanches.
  • Also, the snowpack will display very few warning signs, concealing its unstable nature.
  • Remember, it will be easy to ride and climb steep slopes because the snowpack is supportable, but supportable does not mean stable.

On Thursday, I triggered a large slide on the south face of Mount Abundance. Southerly aspects have the shallowest and weakest snowpack in the area, making them more susceptible to human triggered avalanches. However, a skier up Republic Creek got cracking and collapsing on multiple aspects yesterday, obvious signs of instability. In conditions like these following the three rules of backcountry travel is imperative - everyone carries rescue gear and knows how to use it, only expose one rider at a time and always be watching your partner from a safe location.

The Taylor Fork area and mountains around West Yellowstone have a settled base depth of around 50 inches. The snowpack in these areas is shallower and weaker than the pack around Cooke City and is having difficulty supporting any type of load. Yesterday, riders in the Lioinhead observed a large natural slide off the Lionhead Ridge, the result of a recent wind load. Due to the unstable nature of the pack, steep and wind loaded slopes should be avoided.

Today, a weak snow structure makes human triggered avalanches likely and Avalanche Danger is rated CONSIDERABLE.

The Bridger Range and northern Madison Range:

Yesterday, I took part in the GVSA Porker Ride on Buck Ridge. The weather was great and so were the hot dogs. During my ride I observed a slide on an east facing slope below a ridgline. The slide failed on weak snow near the ground and appeared to be the result of a wind load. In the northern Madison Range, wind loaded slopes are the primary avalanche concern.

The Bridger Range has a similar set up. Dense slabs resting over weak snow near the ground is providing a structure capable of producing avalanches. Areas where the snowpack is thinner, specifically rocky terrain below ridgelines will present the greatest risk for triggering a slide.

Today, heightened avalanche conditions exist on specific terrain features and the Avalanche Danger is rated MODERATE.

The northern Gallatin Range:

Over the past week numerous observations from the northern Gallatin Rang have described a strong and stable snowpack. Skiers and riders are continuously venturing into steeper terrain without incident - an encouraging sign. However, avalanches remain possible, especially on steep-upper elevation slopes.

If you are heading into avalanche terrain, always consider the consequence of a slide. Conditions like these are when avalanches have a tendency to catch people off guard.

Today, on slopes steeper than 35 degrees human triggered avalanches are possible and the Avalanche Danger is rated MODERATE. Less steep 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. It's located south of town on the main snowmobile trail. Stop by and do a quick practice before heading off into the mountains!


February 8: 4th Annual Montana Ale Works Wine Dinner

Come join us for a wonderful, social evening at Montana Ale Works. Menu and ticket information is here:

10th Annual King and Queen of the Ridge

The 10th Annual King and Queen of the Ridge Hike/Ski-a-thon fundraiser is Saturday, Feb 11th. The event supports avalanche education in southwest Montana. Collect pledges for one, two or the most Ridge hikes you can do in the five hours of competition. 100% of the proceeds go to the Friends of Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. Kids and families are encouraged to hike too! More Information / Registration Form.

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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