Forecast for the Skyline Area Mountains

Issued by Brett Kobernik for Saturday, March 9, 2019 - 6:31am
The avalanche danger is mostly MODERATE but there remains a CONSIDERABLE danger in some areas today. The most likely places to trigger avalanches today are on steep slopes that face southeast through north above 8000 feet. Continue to avoid these steep slopes until the new snow settles and stabilizes.
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Weather and Snow
24 hour snow totals are about 6 inches along the Skyline. This brings totals since Tuesday night up to about 18". The wind was mostly from the west overnight and it did increase in speed for a number of hours but didn't get as strong as I thought it might. Temperatures cooled off dramatically and are in the mid teens.
We'll see mostly cloudy skies today with light to moderate west wind and high temperatures in the low to mid 20s. The weather looks unsettled for the next week with numerous chances for snow although none of them will add huge amounts of new snow.
Recent Avalanches
I have not seen any significant avalanche activity in the higher terrain over the last week. However, doing extensive fieldwork and gathering good information has been difficult with poor visibility really limiting travel. It seems to me that all the new snow has been pretty well behaved and I'm anticipating finding mostly stable conditions over the next few days. However, because of all the new snow and not knowing what it's done in many areas dictates that we use caution and treat it as guilty until we can prove otherwise.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Areas with fresh wind drifted snow are your most likely places to trigger an avalanche today. My hunch is that this won't be a huge issue but continue to pay attention. Look for any recent cornices that have broken off. Watch for any cracking along the ridges. Ride over any fresh drifts in safe locations to see if you can get them to break. All of these things will give you an idea of how sensitive any fresh wind drifts are.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
There is a slight chance that a person could trigger an avalanche that breaks into old weak sugary snow near the ground. The most likely places where this could happen is in areas with a shallow snowpack in the 4 foot total depth range. Mid elevations between 8000 and 9500 feet are also where you might find this problem. All the new snow over the last week has certainly added stress to these layers. In areas with a deeper snowpack, this is not such a concern.
Additional Information
This forecast is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

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