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Fri. 14.02.2020
update 13.02.20 17:09 (Bernhard Niedermoser - translated by Jeffrey McCabe)

Fresh snow (20 cm) + wind, plus foehn from day before: CONSIDERABLE danger in places



Esp.directly on Main Tauern Ridge and at high altitudes of Northern Alps, danger of slab avalanches is CONSIDERABLE (3). Avalanche prone locations are difficult to recognize because covered and visibility is poor. In other ranges, many fewer danger zones. Caution is urged on steep ridgeline slopes in northern and eastern aspects. Aside from wind impact conditions are very favourable.

Avalanche Danger

Avalanche danger in Northern Alps and on Main Alpine Ridge is CONSIDERABLE (3), elsewhere predominantly MODERATE (2).

Main problem: fresh snowddrifts from Friday and earlier. Most treacherous are Northern Alps (above 2000 m) and on Main Alpine Ridge (above the treeline) where esp. on north-facing slopes a medium-sized (in isolated cases also a large-sized) slab avalanche can be triggered even by minimum additional loading. In Northern Alps, mostly in steep ridgeline terrain, in the Tauern also on east and south-facing slopes in the classic foehn lanes, also steep slopes distant from ridgelines behind abrupt changes in the terrain and in north-facing gullies.

In the other mountain ranges, likelihood of a relevant slab triggering is measurably less since the fresh snowdrift masses are generally shallow and small. Danger points are steep slopes near ridgelines in N-E-SW aspects.

Relevant naturally triggered avalanches are unlikely.

Favourable conditions are found in wind-protected high-alpine pasture terrain.

Snow Layering

Fresh snow and drifts from Friday are not massive, but were deposited on north-facing slopes in particular atop instable drifts which were generated by foehn winds the day before. On east and south-facing slopes the proneness to triggering of the new, cold snowdrift masses is highly variable, triggerable moderately easily or with difficulty. Older drifts from the period of storm winds (Tuesday/Wednesday) are unlikely to trigger. The old snowpack beneath them is stable.

Alpine Weather Forecast (ZAMG Salzburg)

On Friday, lots of clouds and snow showers will pass thorugh accompanied by strong-to-storm strength NW winds. In ridgeline terrain and in high alpine zones, the NW winds will be blowing at 40-70 km/hr. About 10-20 cm of fresh snow is anticipated. In the afternoon, snow showers will slacken off, clouds begin to disperse. Temperatures will drop: to -6 degrees at 2000 m, -13 degrees at 3000 m.

On Saturday, sunny weather in the mountains, with outstanding visibility. Humidity will be low, winds will be light, temperatures will rise: at 2000 m 0-4 degrees, at 3000 m rising to -1 degree.

Short Term Development

On Saturday, danger of slab avalanches will recede: largely MODERATE (2) danger, in some places still CONSIDERABLE (3) danger due to snowdrift threat. Small, naturally triggered avalanches are possible in extremely steep south-facing terrain due to higher temperatures. On Sunday, favourable conditions over widespread areas.

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