Thursday, April 24, 2014

Weather Advisory

Rare Mountain Glimpse
It has been stormy up here! In the past three days Paradise has received upwards of 25"inches of snow and water totals close to 3.5". That's a pretty big storm for this time of year. Temperatures have been mild the whole time, leading to some very heavy snow. These conditions mean there will be significant avalanche hazards in sub-alpine and alpine areas for the next few days and into the weekend. NWAC and NOAA have both issued special avalanche advisories for our area. Anyone venturing into backcountry areas should take extra caution during their travels.

W. Baumann Assessing Conditions
Climbing rangers got out to check conditions this afternoon above Paradise and ran into some seriously deep and heavy snow. There were many naturally occurring small to moderate sized point releases on slopes above 35 degrees. Human triggered avalanches would be almost certain on any steeper slopes, and there is potential for some very large slides. Backcountry users should avoid all avalanche terrain and terrain traps until this new snow has had a chance to settle out. The forecast is calling for some cooler weather, which should help things, but be aware of any warming you observe. This time of year even a brief break in the clouds can lead to rapid solar warming which will greatly increase the likelihood of avalanches.

All isn't lost though. There are many areas above Paradise that are not in dangerous avalanche terrain, but travel will be tough! Earlier today big skis were easily sinking over a foot deep and people on foot had snow to mid-thigh. Skis or snowshoes are a must if you want to get out beyond the parking lot. Be aware that the road above Longmire is being closed at night right now and will open in the AM pending road conditions. This could be anywhere from 7:00 onward, be sure to check road conditions before you drive up.