Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Waste of Good Powder

Automated weather observations indicate that we are starting to see higher density snow fall in the mountains.  For example, at Alta-Collins, we've seen three inches of snow with 0.38 inches of water over the past five hours.

There are also reports of riming, which will further densify the snow surface.  Note the ice on the southwest facing camera on top of Snowbird.

The rime and high density snow are a recipe for upside down snow in which high density snow is sitting on top of lower density snow.  The UAC reported snow water contents as low as 3-4% from yesterday's storm.  Alta-Collins measured 16 inches with .68 inches of water for 4.25%.  Now we're putting something like 10-13% on top of it.  The resorts were probably tracked out today, but this will probably create punchy, inverted turning conditions in the backcountry and further exacerbate the avalanche hazard.  Let's be careful out there.

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