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Wed. 14.02.2018
update 14.02.18 7:10 (Bernhard Niedermoser - translated by Jeffrey McCabe)

Avoid very steep zones. Southern aspects more favourable.



Weak layers beneath the loosely-packed powder and drifts complicate the situation. Most danger zones on W-N-E facing slopes. Settling noises, isolated triggerings indicate a weak snow base. Avoid steep transitions, typical leeward slopes, triggerings esp. with large additional loading, but sometimes even the weight of one skier is enough.

Avalanche Danger

The situation demands much caution, restraint and experience. Avalanche danger above the treeline is CONSIDERABLE (3), in the Nockberge, Osterhorn range and most of the Niedere Tauern danger is MODERATE (2).

Dry slab avalanches can be triggered in terrain adjacent to ridgelines, esp. W-N-E aspects, with ascending altitude as of 2200 m in southern aspects as well. In some places, the weight of one sole skier can release the snow masses (taking a fall, not maintaining distances, going on foot). Shallow snow zones are the most treacherous. On the windy Main Alpine Ridge and in the Lungau, danger zones are easily recognized, everywhere else the wind indicators cannot be discerned, blanketed by 20 cm of fresh snow. Typical fractures are 40-70 cm deep. With the sunshine, naturally triggered, generally harmless loose-snow avalanches will trigger naturally in extremely steep, rocky terrain. Avoid those zones!

On extremely steep grass-covered slopes below 2200 m, isolated gliding avalanches can trigger naturally.

Snow Layering

The fresh snow from Monday is cold and loosely-packed, the later snowfall that day fell without wind influence. The lower batch of the fresh snow is bonded, fell amid wind impact. Bonding is highly varied, but prone to triggering. On south-facing slopes, the snowpack is better; on extended north-facing slopes (W-N-E) a mixture of hoar and faceted, old powder snow crystals and thin old snowdrift accumulations from recent days.

The old snowpack is compact. The more deeply embedded weak layers are not trigger-sensitive. Gliding avalanche activity has receded, compared to the weeks prior. Only where the old snowpack is still sucking moisture from the warm ground from place to place are gliding avalanches likely.

Alpine Weather Forecast (ZAMG Salzburg)

The day will begin with cloudless skies. Towards the west and south it will stay that way. Further east, esp. Osterhorn range, Tennen range, Dachstein, possibly also Niedere Tauern, low lying clouds will move in this afternoon. Hardly any wind, cold. At 2000 m: -12 degrees; at 3000 m: -18 degrees.

Tomorrow, Thursday, unimpeded sunshine until midday. Then high altitude cloud cover will move in from Tirol, the skies will turn milky, the sun become a distant disc. The summits will remain free, temperatures will rise slightly. At 2000 m: from -9 to -5 degrees; at 3000 m: from -14 to -8 degrees. Moderate to brisk NW winds at high altitudes.

Short Term Development

The snowdrift situation above the treeline will remain the major risk. Following the most recent snowfall, the proneness to triggering has receded a notch. However, the NW winds in the afternoon will generate new snowdrift accumulations. Danger levels for Thursday and Friday will be from MODERATE to CONSIDERABLE (due to the newly arising winds).

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