Snow and Avalanche Status Report – 23.02.2017, 07:30
Snowdrifts at high altitude: regionally considerable avalanche danger
Source of chars and avalanche status report: Landeswarnzentrale Vorarlberg - Avalanche Status Report
Regional danger levels
Avalanche problemdrifting snow
Special warningsdrifts above 2200m; weak layers on very steep, shady slopes; small slides in steep, rocky terrain; at low altitude, wet-snow and gliding avalanches
Danger levels1 = low
2 = moderate
3 = considerable
4 = high
5 = very high
Avalanche hazard levels
Avalanche danger assessment
Predominantly moderate avalanche danger prevails, but regionally it is considerable. Avalanche prone locations for slab avalanches are found particularly above 2200m on wind-impacted, steep slopes, in ridgeline terrain and in drifted gullies and bowls. Fresh and older snowdrifts in shady terrain are inadequately bonded to the snowpack surface, thus prone to triggering. Slab avalanches can be released even by the weight of one single skier. In the southern regions the danger is generally moderate, in high alpine regions the situation is more critical. In very steep, shady W-N-NE terrain above 2200m the snowpack is poorly layered (old-snow problem), especially in untracked terrain. Particularly in transitions from shallow to deeper snow avalanches can still be triggered. At low altitudes where there is rain impact, more wet-snow avalanches are possible; and on steep grass-covered slopes, gliding avalanches.
Snow cover / General info
The snowpack surface above 2200m shows striking impact from wind, at lower altitudes from rain. The outgoing nocturnal radiation last night beneath clear skies helped a crust to form which is capable of bearing loads in some places. Above 2200m there was new fallen snow on Tuesday, transported by strong westerly winds. The drifts were deposited mostly in ridgeline terrain. On shady slopes the drifts were often deposited on loose, powdery snow, inadequately bonded with the surface, thus, prone to triggering. Settling noises (whumpf!) and glide cracks which appear on the surface when treading it are indicators of imminent danger of release. On high altitude, very steep, shady slopes (W-N-NE) the fundament is still weak, and still very difficult to evaluate on-site.
Alpine weather forecast (ZAMG-Weather Service Innsbruck)
Predominantly sunny and mild in the mountains, only a few high-altitude clouds which could become thicker this afternoon. At 2000m: +5 degrees. Strong to stormy SW winds at high altitude.
A cold front will arrive on Thursday night, bringing winter back. The snowfall level will drop to 900m and storm winds will prevail. Avalanche danger will thus increase. Bernhard Anwander Translated from the German by Jeffrey McCabe