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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Wednesday - 22 February 2012

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 30 13 25 6 40 OC SW@10-15mph / Snowing
East Entrance 33 22 31 5 44 OC W@10-15mph / Snowing
Grant Village 31 30 31 .20 45 OC Light winds
Lake 30 18 20 6 45 OC WSW@13-25mph / Snowing
Lamar 38 23 35 2 16 OC SW@8-12mph / Snowing
Madison 30 18 26 2 26 OC Calm / Snowing
Mammoth 42 35 36 T 8 OC S@10-15mph / Snowing
Old Faithful 31 19 30 3 32 OC S@10-15mph / Snowing
Pahaska 35 32 33 .5 - BC Calm
Snake River 33 18 33 10 72 OC Calm
Soda Butte 32 29 31 T - BC Calm
Thumb Divide 31 30 31 0 46 BC Calm
Tower 40 22 37 .6 21 OC SSW@10-12mph / Snowing
West Entrance 33 19 30 3.5 40 OC Breezy / Sleet
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 Intermittent Snow pack & Ice Snow Tires Required
Mammoth to Tower YR Intermittent Snow pack & Ice Snow Tires Required
Tower to NE Entrance YR Intermittent Snow pack & Ice 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 Caution Low Visibility & High Drifts All oversnow vehicles
Junction to Chief Joseph Hwy CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Lake to East Entrance CLOSED Avalanche Control CLOSED
Lake to West Thumb Open   All oversnow vehicles
Madison to Old Faithful Open   All oversnow vehicles
Madison to West Yellowstone Open   All oversnow vehicles
Mammoth to Norris Open   All oversnow vehicles
Norris to Canyon Open   All oversnow vehicles
Norris to Madison Open   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 22 February 2012
by the National Weather Service Riverton, Wyoming

Today...Windy. Snow in the morning...then snow and rain in the afternoon. Areas of blowing snow through the day. Snow accumulation of 4 to 6 inches. Southwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts to around 50 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent. Highs 32°F to 38°F.

Tonight...Windy. Snow showers in the evening...then snow after midnight. Areas of blowing snow through the night. Snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. West winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts to around 55 mph decreasing to 20 to 25 mph after midnight. Chance of snow near 100 percent. Lows 5°F to 11°F.

Thursday...Breezy...colder. Snow likely in the morning...then numerous snow showers in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches. Total snow accumulation 7 to 16 inches. West winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent. Highs 19°F to 25°F.

Thursday Night...Breezy...colder. Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow in the evening...then slight chance of snow after midnight. West winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 30 percent. Lows -2°F to 4°F. Wind chill readings -10°F to -20°F.

Friday...Breezy. Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Highs 23°F to 29°F.

Friday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Lows 9°F to 15°F. Lowest wind chill readings -10°F to -20°F after midnight.

Saturday...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow. Highs 24°F to 30°F.

Saturday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow. Lows 5°F to 11°F.

Sunday...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Highs 19°F to 25°F.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Lows -0°F to 6°F.

Monday...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs 17°F to 23°F.

Monday Night...Colder. Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow. Lows -1°F to -7°F.

Tuesday...Partly cloudy. Highs 18°F to 24°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 98 Parker Peak 70
Blackwater 64 Snake River Station 67
Canyon 41 Sylvan Lake 59
Evening Star 84 Sylvan Road 46
Fisher Creek 89 Thumb Divide 46
Grassy Lake 98 Two Ocean Plateau 90
Lewis Lake Divide 88 West Yellowstone 40
Madison Plateau 64 Whiskey Creek 47
Northeast Entrance 36 Wolverine 38

Avalanche Information
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - 22 February 2012 - 7:30 am - this report is by Doug Chabot. This advisory does not apply to operating ski areas.

  ♦  ♦  Backcountry Avalanche Warning  ♦  ♦  

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center is issuing a Backcountry Avalanche Warning for the Bridger Range. Heavy snowfall, high winds and an extremely weak snowpack are causing unstable conditions. Today the Avalanche Danger is HIGH on all slopes. Areas of unstable snow exist. Natural and human triggered avalanches are likely. Avalanche terrain including avalanche runout zones should be avoided.

This warning will either be terminated or updated by 6:00 AM on February 23, 2012.

Mountain Weather

During the last 24 hours snow fell, winds blew and temperatures warmed. Since yesterday morning the mountains got 4 to 10 inches of new snow with varying densities. The Bridger Range has gotten 6 inches of 20% density snow (1.2 inches Snow Water Equivalency or SWE); the northern Gallatins, Big Sky area and West Yellowstone received about 5 inches of new (.7-.9 inches SWE) and Cooke City has about 10 inches (1.4 inches SWE). Higher elevations were colder than the measuring stations. Colder air makes lower density powder with the same water equivalency, so expect substantially more snow the higher you go. Winds are blowing out of the west at 30-60 mph with mountain temperatures in the mid to high 20s Fahrenheit. The storm will continue today and drop another 6 to 10 inches in the mountains (.6-.8 inches SWE) with strong winds and falling temperatures.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

The Bridger Range:

Storm totals at 5:00 AM in the Bridger Range were 19 inches of snow and 2.4 inches of SWE. The avalanche message today is simple: A lot of heavy snow was rapidly added to a very weak and unstable snowpack. Avalanches are very likely.

This is the largest storm of the year and the first time the snowpack has been put under this much stress. It is failing. Weak faceted snow is unable to hold this new storm snow. Traveling in and underneath avalanche terrain is extremely dangerous. Avalanches were reported running on the ground on the west side of the range yesterday. I saw a large natural avalanche above Fairy Lake Sunday night and expect many, many more. For today in the Bridger Range we have issued an Avalanche Warning which means a HIGH Avalanche Danger exists on all slopes.

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

Lots of heavy, wet snow fell with stiff westerly winds. Faceted snow formed at the surface during last week's clear weather and is now buried. Skiers triggered slides on this layer over the weekend and it will continue to avalanche as more snow is piled on top of it (Sunday's video and photo shows this). Compounding the danger is weak, sugary, faceted snow at the ground. Avalanches breaking in the upper layer may step down to the ground creating large, deadly slides. Storm totals measure 8 to 12 inches, but inches of snow are not important; its total weight is. And the snow weighs a lot: 1.5 - 1.8 inches of SWE. Strong wind gusts to 60 mph have created thick, meaty drifts which further raise the instability.

The Avalanche Danger is rated HIGH on:

    • Any wind loaded slope.

    • Any slope 35 degrees or steeper.

The Avalanche Danger is rated CONSIDERABLE on all other slopes. This danger rating is very close to our Warning criteria. If snow continues to fall the danger will also increase.

I recommend riding lifts in the ski areas, sticking to groomed trails or staying home. If you do head into the backcountry, make sure your inclinometer is handy. Slopes steeper than 30 degrees are avalanche terrain. Do not travel in or underneath these slopes, no matter how small they are.

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!


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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