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Daily Winter Weather Report

Date: Monday - 31 December 2012

Station Max Temp Min Temp Pres Temp New Snow Depth Sky Present Conditions
Bechler 6.0 3.0 3.0 .09 30.97 OC Wind gusts @ 2 mph
Canyon -0.9 -3.5 -3.5 0 25 OC  
East Entrance 4.3 -0.8 -0.5 0   OC  
Lake -0.9 -8.0 -8.0 .01   OC Calm
Madison -0.2 -5.0 -0.5     OC  
Mammoth 7.7 2.0 2.3 0 6.76 OC W @ 4 mph
NE Entrance 3.6 -2.7 3.6 0 12 OC  
Old Faithful -11.5 -16.9 -15.0 0 8.51 OC E @ 1 - 2 mph
Snake River 1.3 -7.9 -7.7 .05 30 OC  
Soda Butte -1.2 -10.9 -1.2 0 2.40 OC  
Sylvan Lake 3.9 -1.1 -1.1 .10 37 OC  
Sylvan Road -3.6 -10.5 -10.5 0 21 OC  
Thorofare 7.0 1.0 1.0 .01 4.05 OC N @ 1 - 3 mph
Thumb Divide -12.6 -15.9 -13.9 0 35 OC  
Tower -2.7 -8.3 -2.7 0 7.17 OC Calm
West Entrance -0.6 -2.4 -1.1 0 18 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   STR
Mammoth to Tower YR   STR
Tower to NE Entrance YR   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 Seven Day Forecast on December 31, 2012
by the National Weather Service Riverton, WY

Today: Partly cloudy. Scattered flurries in the afternoon. Highs 10°F to 16°F.

Tonight / New Years Eve: Partly cloudy in the evening then becoming mostly cloudy. Scattered flurries through the night. Lows -5°F to 1°F. * Happy New Year *

Tuesday / New Years Day: Partly cloudy. Scattered flurries. Highs 13°F to 19°F. * Happy New Year *

Tuesday Night / New Years Night: Partly cloudy. Scattered flurries. Lows -1°F to -7°F. * Happy New Year *

Wednesday: Mostly sunny in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. Highs 15°F to 21°F.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear. Lows -5°F to 3°F.

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs 22°F to 28°F.

Thursday Night: Mostly clear in the evening...then partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow after midnight. Lows -5°F to 3°F.

Friday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 22°F to 28°F.

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

Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 21°F to 27°F.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy. Lows 6°F to 12°F.

Sunday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs 21°F to 27°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 72 Parker Peak 44
Blackwater 45 Snake River Station 30
Canyon 25 Sylvan Lake 37
Evening Star 47 Sylvan Road 21
Fisher Creek 62 Thumb Divide 35
Grassy Lake 51 Two Ocean Plateau 56
Lewis Lake Divide 60 West Yellowstone 18
Madison Plateau 48 Whiskey Creek 25
Northeast Entrance 12 Wolverine 18

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Avalanche Advisory

from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center - December 31, 2012 - this report is by Eric Knoff. This advisory does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday the Bridger Range picked up 3 to 4 inches of low density snow, all other areas picked up a trace to one inch. Today, weak disturbances imbedded in a northwest flow will produce a slight chance of snow in the northern mountains; the mountains around Cooke City and West Yellowstone will likely remain dry. Currently, temperatures are in the single digits Fahrenheit and winds are blowing 5 to 10 out of the west-northwest with the exception of the Bridger Range where winds are blowing 10 to 25 out of the west-northwest. Today, temperatures will warm into the teens Fahrenheit under partly to mostly cloudy skies and winds will blow 5 to 20 out of the west-northwest. The northern mountains will continue to see a slight chance of snow where 1 to 2 inches is possible by tomorrow morning.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

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

It's time to put 2012 to bed. 2013 will be starting off with a snowpack that's promising, but not perfect. It's a bit like the Vikings making the playoffs - now is the time to be optimistic, but also focused on the challenges ahead. Currently, most of our avalanche concerns lie in the upper layers of the snowpack. Recent bouts of clear and calm weather have formed surface hoar and near surface facets on a variety of slopes. If this quiet weather pattern continues, these weak layers will become better developed and more widespread. If these layers persist long enough to be buried by a heavy load, they will likely produce avalanches.

With that said, the snowpack is still looking pretty good. Yesterday, my partners and I toured to Hyalite Peak and found stable conditions on southeast and northeast facing slopes. Yesterday, Doug also found good stability in the Lionhead when he went to investigate an avalanche report. The slide was reported as human triggered, but upon arrival Doug found that it was a natural avalanche caused by a falling piece of cornice (photo). The crown was 50 feet wide with a small run out - the slide had limited propagation and no other signs of instability were observed - which was encouraging.

This event basically sums up our current situation. Most slopes are stable, but a few harbor buried weak layers capable of producing avalanches (photo). Slopes where the snowpack is less than a meter deep, specifically those in steep, rocky terrain will be most susceptible to human triggered slides.

One area to pay attention to will be upper elevation slopes in the Bridger Range. Shallow soft slabs may exist below the ridgeline, which could be sensitive to human triggers. I don't expect these slabs to be deep or well connected, but it's something to look for if touring in the Bridgers.

Today, generally safe avalanche conditions exist on slopes less than 35 degrees which have a LOW avalanche danger. Slopes steeper than 35 degrees have a MODERATE 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.


1. For links to Articles, Education and (photos) and (videos) listed in the above report, please visit this Link.

2. They have recently uploaded more photos and snowpits to their web site, more than what are linked in the advisory above.

3. They have creating a series of "How To…" stability test videos. So far they have clips on performing a CT and ECT. They are located under Stability Tests on their 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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