THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON January 8, 2018 @ 5:27 am
Avalanche Advisory published on January 7, 2018 @ 5:27 am
Issued by Andy Bond - Taos Avalanche Center

LOW avalanche danger exists at all elevations today.  Continue to use normal caution while traveling in the backcountry today.  Be wary of areas of deeper snow above 11,000' on northerly aspects, where its possible to find surface slabs above weak faceted snow

1. Low

?

Above Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

1. Low

?

Near Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

1. Low

?

Below Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
    Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
  • 1. Low
  • 2. Moderate
  • 3. Considerable
  • 4. High
  • 5. Extreme
Avalanche Problem 1: Normal Caution
  • Type ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

Unfortunately, Saturday night's underwhelming snow was not enough to improve the riding conditions, nor did it change the streak of LOW danger we've been in for weeks.  Triggering an avalanche today is unlikely, as most slopes continue to not have enough snow to avalanche. Use normal caution and safe travel protocols when traveling in the backcountry.  Snow coverage is confined to north facing slopes above 11,000'.  Any potential avalanche hazard would be found on northwest through northeast aspects, where isolated surface slabs from previous wind events have formed atop weak, faceted snow.  These slabs are found in pockets of deeper snow and could produce only a small avalanche at this time.  Avlanche danger will not increase until we recieve more snow.  

advisory discussion

Our snowpack is thin, highly variable and wind affected in New Mexico's Sangre de Cristos.  Unfortunately this makes for poor (or nonexistent) backcountry skiing and riding conditions.  Snow continues to exist on higher elevation northerly slopes, though other aspects are back to bare ground or patches of snow.  The last two weeks of high pressure have continued to allow our shallow snowpack to facet out.  Though we have a very weak snowpack, we lack continuous cohesive slabs over the weak faceted snow, throughout much of the forecasted area.  If you find yourself traveling in the backcountry, be wary of areas of deeper snow where you find strong over weak layers which will be found on northerly aspects near and above treeline.  Although unlikely to trigger an avalanche, even a small avalanche will be painful with lots of ground hazards.

The quick-hitting storm Saturday night into Sunday underperformed with only .6" of snow and .01" of water.  A little bit of white snow in the mountains is enough to remind us that it is in fact winter, but won't be enough snow for us to increase the danger rating from LOW.  Today's nseasonably warm temperatures will continue until a Pacific Low makes it's way to New Mexico Tuesday Night.  Expected snowfall totals are still unknown but this morning the storm is looking to be warmer and faster than in previous model runs.  We'll have to wait a couple of more days to see how it turns out, but at least there's snow in the forecast. 

If you find yourself traveling elsewhere in search of a deeper snowpack, be sure to check out the local avalanche advisory on Avalanche.org.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

Today will be characterized by above average temperatures and light winds.  A storm system is still on track to bring us some much needed precipitaton as early as Tuesday night.  The temperatures associated with with the front are warm and between that and the quick hitting nature of the storm, snowfall totals have been downgraded overnight.  We'll just have to wait and see what we get out of it.  

Weather observations from the Wheeler Peak Wilderness between 9000 ft. and 13000 ft.
0600 temperature: 27.6 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 33 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: NW
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 12 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 18 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0.6 inches
Total snow depth: 7.9 inches
Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Albuquerque NWS
For 9000 ft. to 10000 ft.
Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Temperatures: 48 deg. F. 30 deg. F. 46 deg. F.
Wind Direction: W W W
Wind Speed: 5-15 5-25 10-25
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For 11000 ft. to 13000 ft.
Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Temperatures: 38-44 deg. F. 28 deg. F. 35-40 deg. F.
Wind Direction: W W W
Wind Speed: 5-15 10-25 15-30
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0.1-.2 in.
Disclaimer

This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries, Click here for a map of the area. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires 24 hours after the posted time unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the Taos Avalanche Center who is solely responsible for its content.