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Yellowstone National Park Winter Weather Links
Avalanche Report Special Weather Info
Daily Winter Weather Report Winter Road Report
Snow Depth Totals Yellowstone Weather Forecast

Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Monday - 24 December 2012

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Canyon 20.8 19.6 20.8 0 23 OC  
East Entrance 20.5 18.1 20.5 .03 10.10 OC  
Grant Village 21.4 19.0 21.4 .30 34 OC  
Lake 19.0 17.1 17.1 .13   OC Calm / Snowing
Lamar 16.9 15.7 16.9 0   OC  
Madison 22.0 20.1 21.3     OC  
Mammoth 24.7 22.3 23.5 .01 6.61 OC S@2 to 4 mph
Old Faithful 23.5 19.4 22.9 0 8.43 OC SE@3 - 5 mph
Pahaska 20.5 18.1 20.5 .03 10.10 OC  
Snake River 22.2 20.4 20.4 .15 29 OC  
Soda Butte 16.9 15.7 16.9   2.40 OC  
Thumb Divide 21.4 19.0 21.4 .30 34 OC  
Tower 20.7 19.9 20.0 0 6.99 OC 1 mph
West Entrance 24.1 23.2 24.1 .10 16 OC  
T=Trace/ BC=Broken Clouds/ C=Clear/ OC=Overcast/ SC=Scattered Clouds
All Temperatures are in °F ~ All Snow Depths are in Inches

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* * * 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   Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles
Firehole Canyon Drive CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Grant to South Entrance Open   Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles
Junction to Chief Joseph Hwy CLOSED * CLOSED * CLOSED *
Lake to East Entrance Open   Rubber tracked oversnow concession vehicles
Lake to West Thumb Open   Rubber tracked oversnow concession 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   Rubber tracked oversnow concession 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 ********

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    Caution advised for snow falling off of building roofs. Park accordingly.

    Dangerous avalanche conditions may already exist in many back country areas, please call the Recorded Avalanche Advisory 406-587-6981 for the most current conditions.

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Yellowstone Forecast on December 24, 2012
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY

Today: Breezy. Snow in the morning...then numerous snow showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent. Highs 21°F to 27°F.

Tonight: Cloudy. Snow likely in the evening...then slight chance of snow after midnight. Snow accumulation around 1 inch. Total snow accumulation 3 to 9 inches. Northwest winds around 15 mph early in the evening. Chance of snow 70 percent. Lows -3°F to 3°F.

Christmas Day / Tuesday: Partly cloudy in the morning then becoming mostly cloudy. Southwest winds around 15 mph late in the afternoon. Highs 15°F to 21°F. * Merry Christmas *

Christmas Night / Tuesday Night: Breezy. Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph. Lows -2°F to 4°F. * Merry Christmas *

Wednesday: Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow. South winds around 15 mph in the morning. Highs 18°F to 24°F.

Wednesday Night: Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow. Lows 6°F to 12°F.

Thursday: Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Highs 18°F to 24°F.

Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow. Lows 2°F to 8°F.

Friday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow showers. Highs 16°F to 22°F.

Friday Night: Partly cloudy. Lows -2°F to 6°F.

Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs 17°F to 23°F.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy. Lows 5°F to 1°F1.

Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs 19°F to 25°F.

Snowflake Hazardous Weather Forecast Snowflake Gibbon Falls Forecast Snowflake Mammoth Forecast Snowflake Midway Forecast Snowflake Norris Forecast Snowflake Old Faithful Forecast Snowflake

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* * * Snow Depth Totals as reported at SNOTELs * * *
Station Depth (inches) Station Depth (inches)
Black Bear 69 Parker Peak 41
Blackwater 46 Snake River Station 29
Canyon 23 Sylvan Lake 34
Evening Star 49 Sylvan Road 20
Fisher Creek 68 Thumb Divide 34
Grassy Lake 46 Two Ocean Plateau 58
Lewis Lake Divide 62 West Yellowstone 16
Madison Plateau 44 Whiskey Creek 24
Northeast Entrance 10 Wolverine 17

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Avalanche Information
from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - December 24, 2012 - this report is by Eric Knoff. This advisory does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

Over the past 24 hours the mountains around West Yellowstone and Cooke City picked up 2 to 3 inches of snow. The southern Madison Range and mountains around Big Sky including the northern Gallatin Range picked up 1 to 2 inches. The Bridger Range has remained dry. Today, the southern ranges will see an additional 3 to 5 inches while the north will pick up 2 to 4 inches. Currently, temperatures are in the teens Fahrenheit and winds are blowing 10 to 20 out of South-southwest. Today, highs will reach into the 20s Fahrenheit and winds will remain out of the West-southwest at 10 to 20 mph. Snow will taper off this evening as the storm pushes east. Very little snow is expected tonight and Christmas Day looks to be dry.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

Avalanches are all about timing. When conditions are stable, there is nothing wrong with playing in avalanche terrain. If conditions are unstable, playing in avalanche terrain is like gambling - the house has better odds and you'll likely to end up losing.

But what happens when stability is somewhere in between? In this case, some slopes are stable while others are not. Since it may be difficult to figure out which is which, assessing the snowpack carefully and using cautious route finding and conservative decision making is the best way to approach riding in the backcountry.

A recently released interactive article by the New York Times discusses the fatal avalanche at Stevens Pass last winter and describes how decision making contributed to this accident.

Today, there will be two main avalanche problems to consider.

    1. Wind Slabs: New snow and wind will form shallow soft slabs in wind loaded terrain. The snow surface on which these slabs form will determine how sensitive they are to human triggers. On some slopes, weak and faceted snow formed over the past few days will provide an unstable foundation for wind deposited snow. This scenario will make wind slabs easier to trigger. On slopes that do not have faceted snow on the surface, slabs will bond quickly making them less susceptible to human triggers. Looking for obvious signs of instability such as shooting cracks and recent avalanche activity are bull's eye clues that the snowpack is unstable.

    2. Buried Persistent Weak Layers: These continue to produce avalanches on isolated slopes. Yesterday, Doug got unstable results during stability tests on a layer of buried facets in the northern Bridger Range (video, snow pit, photo). Skiers also found facets near the ground in Middle Basin north of Big Sky. Buried facets are not present on all slopes, but seem to be most prevalent in areas where the snowpack is less than a meter deep. Avoiding steep, upper elevation slopes with a shallow snowpack will be the best way to mitigate this problem (photo).

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

Over the past 48 hours 4 to 6 inches of snow has fallen in the southern ranges with more forecasted through today. New snow and wind will form sensitive soft slabs on the lee side of ridgelines and cross loaded terrain features. Wind slabs will likely increase in size and distribution as more snow and wind impact the area.

Buried facets are not widespread in the southern ranges, but are something to look out for in steep, rocky terrain.

Today, human triggered avalanches are likely on wind loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees which have a CONSIDERABLE Avalanche Danger. All other slopes have a MODERATE Avalanche Danger.

The Bridger, Northern Gallatin and Northern Madison Ranges:

The northern ranges have only received 1-2 inches of snow over the past few days. This load is not enough to increase the avalanche hazard.

However, buried persistent weak layers and a variable snowpack continue to make human triggered avalanches possible. Steep, upper elevation slopes, specifically those with a shallow snowpack will be the most likely to produce an avalanche.

Today, human triggered avalanches are possible and the Avalanche Danger is rated MODERATE. The Avalanche Danger could climb to CONSIDERABLE on steep wind loaded slopes if today's storm comes in stronger than expected.

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. For links to all photos and videos listed in the above report, please visit this Link.

2. We've recently uploaded more photos and snowpits to our web site, more than what are linked in the advisory.

3. 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.

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

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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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