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Wed. 15.01.2020
update 14.01.20 17:56 (Michael Butschek - translated by Jeffrey McCabe)

Rising temperatures plus foehn



Along the Tauern, fresh, generally shallow but trigger-sensitive snowdrift accumulations due to southerly foehn wind. Danger zones near ridgelines, behind abrupt changes in the terrain, in gullies, particularly above the treeline. During the daytime, a moistening snowpack of deteriorating firmness. Wet loose-snow avalanches are possible in sun-drenched steep terrain. Furthermore, isolated guide-snow avalanches in extremely steep grassy terrain and over rock slabs in all aspects.

Avalanche Danger

Initially avalanche danger will be LOW, then increase during the day to MODERATE in the Tauern zone.

Small avalanche prone locations for dry slab avalanches in the foehn lanes of the Tauern in extended northern aspects near to ridgelines, behind protruberances in the landscape and in gullies. They are easily triggered and while the major risk is forcing a skier or boarder to take a fall, they could grow to medium size. With large additional loading in extremely steep terrain, furthermore, a release is possible, particularly in transition zones from shallow to deeper snow on north and east-facing slopes.

Naturally triggered avalanches: wet loose-snow avalanches in sun-drenched steep terrain and glide-snow avalanches (small-to-medium) on extremely steep (over 40 degrees) grassy slopes or over rock slabs. Critical altitude zone: 1800-2500 m.

Snow Layering

The predominantly well settled and compact snowpack forfeits its firmness during the daytime due to the mild temperatures amidst intense solar radiation. Furthermore, southerly foehn winds in the Tauern zone are generating shallow snowdrift accumulations, as on Monday. Raw, melt-freeze encrusted surfaces (breakable-to-icy) dominate, on steep sunny slopes the snow softens on the surface during the course of the day. The tendency towards fracture propagation is low; the fresh snowdrift accumulations are more prone to triggering. Otherwise, the borderline between the warm ground and the snowpack is the only weak layer.

Alpine Weather Forecast (ZAMG Salzburg)

On Wednesday it will be ongoingly sunny and still milder than in recent days. Temperatures at 2000 m will be 2 to 8 degrees; at 3000 m, 2 degrees. Along the Tauern, southerly foehn wind will intensify, reaching 40-60 km/hr directly on the Main Alpine Ridge and in the classic foehn lanes.
On Thursday the sunny weather will continue, but temperatures are expected to drop noticeably. At 2000 m: -2 to +2 degrees; at 3000 m, -3 degrees. Winds will shift to southerly during the daytime and intensify in the Tauern foehn lanes during the afternoon.

Short Term Development

On Thursday, wet loose-snow avalanches are expected to diminish due to the lower temperatures. Caution is urged towards the easily recognized snowdrift accumulations in the Tauern zone. Conditions will continue to be predominantly favourable.

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