It's exciting to see snow falling after a long, hot summer. There is a winter storm warning
from the National Weather Service in effect from Saturday afternoon, Oct 22, until Sunday evening, Oct 23. 12-24 inches of snow could fall
in many mountainous areas of the state by Sunday evening.
As I type this update late Saturday, snow is falling in the mountains and rain is falling in the valleys. Additionally, there have been very strong winds blowing up to 40-60 mph from the south at upper-elevation weather stations.
Avalanches are definitely possible, and it doesn't matter what time of year it is. It doesn't matter what you're doing - going for a hike, hunting, trying to ski or board, or snowshoe; be prepared for avalanches. The main issue will be fresh deposits of wind-drifted snow that could produce slab avalanches. However, in some places where 2-3 feet of snow may accumulate, the new snow alone may produce soft slab avalanches or sluffs of new snow.
A fresh blanket of snow can be incredibly beautiful! The problem is that it hides all the rocks, stumps, logs, and other things that may serious injuries if you're caught in even a small avalanche.
Even if you're not planning to get onto the snow, it's never too early to start thinking about avalanches. A few things to consider doing:
- Attend USAW and learn more about avalanches and decision making. (scroll down to the bottom of this page for more info and links)
- Sign up for an avalanche class.
- Take the all-new online avalanche courses the UAC built for Know Before You Go or take other online courses listed on the KBYG website (Develop skills -> Online Learning).
- Get your avalanche rescue gear ready for winter. Put fresh batteries in your transceiver and update the firmware. Inspect your shovel and probe. Get your airbag backpack ready by possibly doing a test deployment and update the firmware if it is an electric version.
Stay tuned. We'll be watching each storm and publishing intermittent updates.