update 18.01.19 8:56 (Michael Butschek - translated by Jeffrey McCabe)
Some fresh drifts. Glide-snow problem.
Main problem remains glide-snow avalanches, whose releases are unpredictable, esp. in regions where there was lots of early-January snowfall (Osterhorn, Northern Alps, inneralpine grassy mountains) are large releases over steep grassy slopes possible. Above 1800 m, fresh snow and stormy winds have formed new drifts, often atop surface hoar, thus easily triggerable
NATURALLY TRIGGERED AVALANCHES: medium-to-large glide-snow avalanches possible. Many glide cracks are open, indicating imminent danger of release. The ‘wishbones’ are often not evident from below, namely, on grassy slopes up to 2400 m, with huge fracture depths. Applies especially to zones where snowfall has been heavy (Osterhorn, Northern Alps, inneralpine grassy mountains). Trails and forest roads can be at risk. Also: as a result of solar radiation, isolated loose-snow and slab avalanches can release in extremely steep terrain. AVALANCHES BY SKIERS: Fresh snow and strong NW winds last night have formed new drifts above 1800 m easily triggered (covered surface hoar). Drifts mostly near ridgelines on east and south facing slopes they are deep, easily recognized. In Hohe Tauern, southerly foehn winds transported snow measurably, these deposited drifts on north-facing slopes now covered, can be triggered by minimum additional loading. The drifts from early January now triggerable mostly by large additional loading.
On Thursday night there was about 15 cm of fresh snow registered amidst strong NW winds. On Thursday the southerly foehn wind transported snow in the Hohe Tauern. Most of the snowfall from early January has settled, the inner layers well bonded, the snow cover is compact. The NW winds have left heavy marks on the surface, many windblown areas, many filled gullies and bowls, mighty cornices. In Hohe Tauern, deeper weak layers in the old snowpack above 2600 m can currently be trigered only by large additional loading.
Alpine Weather Forecast (ZAMG Salzburg)
Today, Friday, the peaks will be hidden in heavy cloud until afternoon, a few snow showers are possible. In the afternoon, clouds will disperse, visibility improve, a bit of sunshine is possible. The brisk to strong W/NW winds will taper off be evening. At 2000 m: -12 degreers; at 3000 m: -17 degrees. Tomorrow, Saturday, it will remain dry, sunshine amidst some high altitude clouds, will be somewhat impeded. Especially on the Main Alpine Ridge, diffuse light. Winds will be light. At 2000 m: between -12 and -8 degrees; at 3000 m: -13 degrees.
Short Term Development
Avalanche danger will diminish slightly