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Tue. 13.03.2018
update 13.03.18 7:27 (Michael Butschek - translated by Jeffrey McCabe)

Increased gliding avalanches



The nocturnal reserves of cold are swiftly dissipated (only thin melt-freeze crusts), the snowpack is moist at least up to 2400 m. Main problem: small to medium gliding avalanches and loosely-packed wet-snow avalanches, triggered artificially and naturally. Above 2200 m, snowdrifts on north-facing slopes are triggerable primarily by large additional loading.

Avalanche Danger

Avalanche danger is MODERATE (2) in general.
The main problem: naturally triggering gliding avalanches. Some small to medium releases with fractures of 100-200 cm can also be expected, particularly on 40° gradient slopes below 2300 m. Avoid all zones where glide cracks appear in the snowpack surface! Second danger (with rapidly developing daytime danger cycle): loosely-packed wet-snow avalanches, triggered by freeriders and skiers or naturally, especially on steep, sun-drenched slopes below 2000 m.
At high and high alpine altitudes, especially in the Hohe Tauern and Nockberge foehn lanes, there are also danger zones for slab avalanches, triggerable especially by large additional loading. Trigger spots are near ridgelines and in transition zones from shallow to deep snow and at entry points to gullies and bowls.

Snow Layering

Warmth and intermittent rainfall (up to 1700 m yesterday) have moistened the snowpack significantly, gliding avalanche activity was correspondingly high. Following a night of heavily overcast skies, the cold reserves are diminished and quickly dissipate during the daytime, i.e. the thin crusts or rain-ice is swiftly softened. Above 1700 m, esp. in Tennen range, Hochkönig, Niedere Tauern, there is a thin layer of fresh snow and graupel.
At altitudes above 2200 m, hardened and compacted snowpack surfaces dominate. Firm drifts of recent days are found on north-facing slopes, especially in the Nockberge. Potential bed surfaces lie beneath the snowdrifts, but are not trigger sensitive and of highly varying delicacy.

Alpine Weather Forecast (ZAMG Salzburg)

Sunshine and clouds, with varying visibility. Along the Tauern, showers of rain or snow (snowfall level 1300-1700 m). In the Northern Alps the clouds will disperse somewhat. Strong westerly winds will prevail, even stormy in the Northern Alps at high altitude. At 2000 m: -3 degrees; at 3000 m: -10 degrees.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, visibility will be impeded by low lying cloud, snow showers above 1000 m. In the afternoon, some sunshine is anticipated. Temperatures will lie between -6 and -2 degrees at 2000 m; at -11 degrees at 3000 m.

Short Term Development

No significant change is expected. Nighttime skies will generally be overcast, only in the Lungau will the snow be able to cool sufficiently. The minor amounts of fresh snow will be moistened by the powerful sunshine. Small, fresh snowdrifts on east facing slopes at high altitude. Despite the heightened temperatures, gliding avalanches remain the biggest threat.

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