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Fri. 14.12.2018
update today 7:32 (Bernhard Niedermoser - translated by Jeffrey McCabe)

Moderate danger of slab avalanches above timberline (2000m). Foehn lanes more delicate.



Avalanche danger up to 1800/2000m is frequently LOW, the conditions favorable. Above that altitude a SNOWDRIFT PROBLEM prevails, danger is mostly MODERATE. Directly on Main Alpine Ridge, by a hair the danger level would be CONSIDERABLE (level 3) in one foehn lane several km long. In foehn-exposed zones, the danger levels fluctuate wildly over small areas.

Avalanche Danger

The main peril stems from drifted snow masses. The fresh foehn-generated drifts are easily recognized, can be triggered by minimum additional loading. Directly on the Main Alpine Ridge the more compact snowdrifts in some foehn lanes are wide-ranging, more concentrated on leeward slopes distant from ridgelines and gullies. Apart from the Main Alpine Ridge there are significantly fewer danger zones, most of them adjacent to ridgelines, thin, small layers or patches of snowdrifts.

The older snowdrifts from the beginning of the week can still be triggered by large additional loading in isolated cases, particularly in transitions and entry zones into gullies and bowls which are filled to the brim with snowdrifts; and in zones where the snow is shallow, especially on north-facing slopes above 2400 m.

Secondary problem: glide-snow avalanches on grassy slopes steeper than 45°.

Snow Layering

The massive amounts of fresh snow and snowdrifts from the beginning of the week have now settled measurably. The proneness to triggering of older drifted snow has diminished visibly. More deeply embedded weak layers are found at the borderline to the snow from November above about 2400 m on north-facing slopes of the Tauern. Elsewhere, there was bare ground before the recent onset of winter.

Since yesterday, southerly foehn wind is doing its work on the uppermost layers of the snowpack, also throughout the night. Right on the Main Alpine Ridge there were far-reaching snowdrifts generated, particularly in the foehn lanes. Apart from the Tauern, snow transport was superficial and thin. The fresh snowdrifts of yesterday were deposited on top of a cold snowpack surface which evidenced surface hoar in many places, they are easily triggerable.

Alpine Weather Forecast (ZAMG Salzburg)

The mountains of the Lungau are cloaked in fog, light snowfall is possible. Elsewhere the peaks are in the clear, it will be sunny during the morning. In the valleys there is fog; above the summits dense cloudbanks will spread this afternoon, all in all making light conditions diffuse. Light to moderate-strength foehn wind from the south (40 km/hr in the Tauern, slackening off this afternoon). Temperatures: -8 degrees at 2000 m, -14 degrees at 3000 m.

Saturday will be a sunny day in the mountains. On the northern rim of the Alps, some low-lying cloud will persist for a bit, disperse later on. Everywhere else, there will be sunshine and clear skies all day long. Light NW winds, brisker on the Main Alpine Ridge. Temperatures: it will remain cold, -9 degrees at 2000 m, -14 degrees at 3000 m.

Short Term Development

Avalanche danger levels will recede further. Below 1800/2000 m generally LOW, above that altitude MODERATE.

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