Monitoring Wet Snow Avalanche Conditions

Location Name: 
Monitoring Wet Snow Avalanche Conditions
Region: 
Williams Lake Area
Date and time of observation: 
Tue, 03/14/2017 - 13:48
Location Map: 
United States
36° 33' 18.4536" N, 105° 25' 57.7236" W
US


Red Flags: 
Rapid warming

Observation made by: Forecaster
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Today really kicked off the start of the near record warm temperatures that are forecasted for us for the next several days.  I'm putting up the max temps in the advisory that the national weather service are forecasting for us, but it certainly didn't feel like we reached a high of 64 degrees at 9000'.  Air temps we took at 10,000' at 3:30 PM were in the low 50's. Still plenty warm and added with the strong spring sun the snow surface was warming up quickly throughout the day.  In a tour around Williams Lake, the warming process seemed to be delayed by a breeze and some unexpected cloud cover in the morning.  In the afternoon as the clouds lifted, things really started to warm up.  Only a couple of spots had roller balls and no natural wet loose snow avalanches were observed.  In many spots 11,000' and below on sunny slopes, we observed wet facets on the ground, but no water moving in the snowpack yet.  Just the top 10 to 15cm was wet around 3:30 PM on many slopes.  Boot penetration in many of these locations was all the way to ground, but with skis on you were staying in just the top 10 to 15 cm of wet snow.  In low elevation areas the snowpack is going to isothermic.

Photo 1: Quick snowpit on an East aspect around 11,000'

Photo 2: Roller balls on a southwest aspect around 11,200'  more than likely from Monday.

Video 1: Explaining the potential wet slab avalanche problem we might be dealing with in the days to come with the warm temperatures these next couple of days.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
No
Cloud Cover: 
50% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light
Precipitation: 
Air temperature trend: 
Warming
Wind Direction: 
West
Accumulation rate: 
More detailed information about the weather: 

High clouds in the morning blocked a lot of the direct sun.  The clouds moved to the east in the afternoon and direct sun really started to warm up the snowpack.