Flagstaff, Arizona - Backcountry of The San Francisco Peaks and Kachina Peaks Wilderness
Format and Limitations Statement
Looks like 2018 will go out with a bang. A winter storm warning is in effect until 2019 (midnight tonight).
As of 3 PM today we have accumulated ~12" of new snow near treeline. West and North winds are expected to drift snow. The snow is very low density (awesome pow!) and will be easily transported.
Wind slab and storm slab avalanche hazard is increasing. Natural avalanches are possible, human triggered avalanches probable on wind loaded and steep terrain. Easily induced small sloughing on 35+ degree terrain has been observed at Snowbowl.
Natural avalanches are possible, human triggered avalanches probable on wind loaded and steep terrain. Wind slabs and large accumulations may overload our weak/faceted early season snowpack, potentially creating larger more destructive avalanches.
We recommend staying away from steep avalanche prone terrain until the snowpack has time to adjust. Should you go, cautious route finding, conservative decision making and snowpack evaluation will be essential.
Remember most slab avalanches occur during a storm or within 48 hours of accumulation.
The new accumulation is very welcome and will help our low tide. Expect rocks and logs to be hidden under the new coverage.
Natural avalanches possible, human triggered avalanches probable on wind loaded and steep terrain.
Keep an eye on the ASBTP weather station. Speeds between 17 and 25 mph are ideal for transporting snow and creating wind slabs.
Cold temperatures will inhibit bonding between layers of snow. This problem may last a while into the new year.
Due to cold temperatures, new snow bonding to old snow may be an issue.
The bullseye slope angle for avalanche activity is 38 degrees. Moderating slope angles to 30 degrees and less drastically reduces the likelihood of triggering an avalanche.