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Fri. 15.12.2017
update today 7:24 (Bernhard Niedermoser - translated by Jeffrey McCabe)

Avoid drifted lee slopes. Elsewhere often favourable conditions.



Wherever the wind has been transporting steadily there is a snowdrift problem, i.e. very steep NW-N-E-SW lee slopes above 1800 m near ridgelines. MODERATE danger; in foehn lanes and parts of the Northern Alps CONSIDERABLE danger. Another persistent threat: sporadic gliding avalanches on extremely steep slopes.

Avalanche Danger

Avalanche danger depends exclusively on wind impact. In wind-protected zones danger is LOW (1) and the powder lies loose on the hard snow base. In wind-exposed areas the danger of slab avalanches is MODERATE (2); in the Hohe Tauern and Northern Alps, due to wide ranging snowdrift accumulations, danger is often CONSIDERABLE (3).

Avalanche prone locations are found on very steep lee slopes near ridgelines in N and E aspects. Snowdrift accumulations which have a 20 to 30 cm fracture line are possible. Even more wide ranging drifts (also distant from ridgelines) are found in the foehn lanes of the Hohe Tauern and Northern Alps above 2200 m.

GLIDING SNOW: At low and intermediate altitudes on very steep surfaces, mostly grass-covered, isolated gliding avalanches can trigger naturally. This applies to altitudes below 2200 m.

Snow Layering

SNOWDRIFTS: Yesterday the fresh snow from Tues/Wed (10-25 cm) was heavily transported in exposed zones, some of it only superficially, some of it quite deeply, e.g. in foehn lanes and high alpine regions. On sunny slopes the snow settled. High alpine terrain is radically windblown, particularly in the foehn lanes of the Tauern. Last night and in the early morning hours today, the fresh snow was again transported. On top of that, 10 to 20 cm of fresh snow is anticipated, without wind impact.

OLD SNOW: The old snowpack has formed a hard shell. Old layers of hoar are well covered, no longer sensitive. Due to the warm ground, however, gliding avalanches are still being triggered, despite low temperatures.

Alpine Weather Forecast (ZAMG Salzburg)

Visibility today is limited, due to heavy cloud and snow showers. The showers will soon come to an end. This afternoon, especially in the Northern Alps and in Upper Pinzgau the skies could brighten somewhat. Near the Tauern and in the Lungau, heavy cloud will persist accompanied by a bit of snowfall. FRESH SNOW: 10 to 20 cm. A strong S/W wind will be blowing to start with (40-60 km/hr), but will rapidly slacken off. Temperature at 2000 m: -7 degrees; at 3000 m: -13 degrees.

Tomorrow, Saturday, overcast skies, often foggy at summit level. A bit of snowfall in the morning. During the afternoon/evening the snowfall will spread and intensify, especially in the classic northern barrier cloud zones. Winds will be brisk to strong from W/NW (30-40 km/hr). Temperature at 2000 m: -9 degrees; at 3000 m: -15 degrees.

Short Term Development

On Saturday, the danger of slab avalanches will be predominantly MODERATE (2). Continue to avoid steep, freshly drifted zones.

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