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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Thursday - 05 January 2012

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 35 -4 -1 0 24 SC Calm
East Entrance 39 8 8 0 27 SC Calm
Grant Village 25 0 1 0 33 - Clear
Lake 34 5 8 0 26 BC Calm
Lamar 14 5 14 0      
Madison 31 0 3 0 16 BC Calm
Mammoth 37 27 35 0 5 SC SE@14mph
Old Faithful 41 6 6 0 25 OC Calm
Pahaska 26 23 26 0      
Snake River 27 -7 -4 0 34 - Calm / Clear
Soda Butte 13 5 7 0      
Thumb Divide 22 4 12 0      
Tower 30 5 11 0 13 SC SW@8-10mph
West Entrance 37 0 4 0 24 BC Calm
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 STR
Mammoth to Tower YR Good STR
Tower to NE Entrance YR Good STR
Beartooth Highway CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Canyon to Lake Open Good All oversnow vehicles
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 Good All oversnow vehicles
Lake to West Thumb Open Good All oversnow vehicles
Madison to Old Faithful Open   All oversnow vehicles
Madison to West Yellowstone Open   All oversnow vehicles
Mammoth to Norris Open Fair - drifts & ruts All oversnow vehicles
Norris to Canyon Open Good All oversnow vehicles
Norris to Madison Open   All oversnow 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 Seven Day Forecast on 05 January 2012
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY

Today...Breezy. Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow in the afternoon. Highs 29°F to 35°F. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph.

Tonight...Breezy. Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Lows 6°F to 12°F. West winds 15 to 20 mph.

Friday...Mostly cloudy in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 21°F to 27°F. West winds around 15 mph late in the afternoon.

Friday Night...Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Lows 3°F to 9°F.

Saturday...Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 21°F to 27°F. West winds around 15 mph in the afternoon.

Saturday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows -1°F to 7°F.

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

Sunday Night...Partly cloudy in the evening then clearing. Lows 8°F to 16°F.

Monday...Mostly sunny. Highs 27°F to 33°F.

Monday Night...Mostly clear in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. Lows 8°F to 14°F.

Tuesday...Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 23°F to 29°F.

Tuesday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Lows 2°F to 8°F.

Wednesday...Partly cloudy. Highs 16°F to 22°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 44 Parker Peak 40
Blackwater 46 Snake River Station 28
Canyon 24 Sylvan Lake 34
Evening Star 45 Sylvan Road 24
Fisher Creek 51 Thumb Divide 25
Grassy Lake 40 Two Ocean Plateau 53
Lewis Lake Divide 38 West Yellowstone 19
Madison Plateau 30 Whiskey Creek 22
Northeast Entrance 15 Wolverine 19

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

Mountain Weather

This morning temperatures were in the 30s Fahrenheit and winds were averaging 15-30 mph from the West and Southwest gusting 35-50 mph. This morning will remain warm and windy. Clouds will move over the area and by afternoon bring cooler air which will keep temperatures in the 30s Fahrenheit. Winds shouldn't ease until this evening, and some areas could receive a dusting or even an inch of snow by tomorrow morning.


We have posted many photos and several videos from the two avalanche fatalities outside Cooke City. Full reports will be made public later this week.

GOOD NEWS: In the avalanche in Hayden Creek south of Cooke City, a dog (a Corgi) was caught and presumed to be buried and dead. However, yesterday afternoon this dog appeared at the Antlers Lodge outside the hotel room where the victim and his wife were staying. Residents of Cooke City helped reunite this dog with its family.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

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

Unstable conditions persist and recent warm weather has not changed the situation. The structure of the snowpack remains the same. A heavy slab of snow rests on a snowpack containing weak, faceted layers that will fracture and produce an avalanche. Evidence of this instability:

    • Yesterday near Cooke City a skier experienced lots of collapsing, a clear sign that the snowpack remains unstable.

    • On Lionhead near West Yellowstone, Karl Birkeland was studying fracture mechanics by filming his stability tests with a high speed camera. His test results showed unstable conditions. He also experienced collapsing and cracking. If the slope had been steeper than 30 degrees or connected to a steeper slope it would have avalanched.

    • In the Bridger Range, the Bridger Bowl ski patrol continues to trigger avalanches in terrain that has very similar conditions to the backcountry.

    • Near Big Sky in Beehive Basin yesterday, a skier found new snow resting on very weak, faceted, old snow. His stability test results mirrored Karl's on Lionhead. Even though he saw ski tracks on the slope, he did not ski it.

The problem now is that the snowpack might let a skier or rider take a chance and get lucky. A recent video near Jackson Hole is a good example. The first skier got very lucky and did not trigger an avalanche, but 10 minutes later a snowboarder easily triggered the entire face. For today, human triggered avalanches remain likely and the Avalanche Danger is rated CONSIDERABLE.

The northern Gallatin Range:

Stability is better in the northern Gallatin Range. Yesterday Eric and his partners were skiing in Hyalite where they found a good bond between this weekend's snow and the old snow surface. They also found obvious facets near the ground, but thought it would be difficult to trigger an avalanche on this layer unless you found an area with a thinner snowpack like steep rocky slopes. They also saw evidence of a large cornice that broke and hit the slope below, but it did not trigger an avalanche – a good sign. Some areas have a layer of surface hoar buried about a foot deep. I found it on Mount Ellis and did not ski steeper open areas under the burn based on the existence of this layer. Skiers near Lick Creek also found a buried surface hoar layer and opted for lower angle terrain. With buried surface hoar on some slopes and the existence of facets near the ground, human triggered avalanches are possible and the Avalanche Danger is MODERATE.

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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