3 Jan 2014

January 3, 2014

Snow that was falling at 08:00 hrs yesterday morning was fairly moist, freezing level dropped to 1200 meters by days end. This pic was taken then, at 1860 meters when the temp was -2 and snowing 1 cm per hour.

Weather plot at 1550 meters on Blackcomb. +1.8 at 08:00 hrs, dropped to -1 at 20:00 hrs Jan 2Nd.

22 centimetres as of 16:30 Hrs yesterday afternoon. During the later part of yesterday between 14:30 - 16:30 hours it was snowing 3 cm per hour. The storm brought more snow than was forecasted for!! Averaged 2 cm an hour from 06:30 to 14:30 hours.

Observations for this Third day of January, 2014; taken at 06:00 Hrs.

2240 meters  -11, no wind data
2180 meters  -10, winds were 20-30 KPH from the W
1860 meters    -8, winds were 5-10 KPH from the E
1835 meters    -9, winds were 15-25 KPH from the SWS
1650 meters    -8, 10 cm of new snow, Base 115 cm, 24 cm in the past 24 hours
1550 meters    -6,   8 cm of new snow, Base 84 cm, 23 cm in the past 24 hours
  660 meters     0, Valley Temp, 16.6 mm of precip recorded yesterday

For the forecast, a cold front passed through last night, the persistent ridge of high pressure aloft will bring a Northwesterly flow similar to the pattern we have been plagued by. Cool temperatures for today into this evening with mostly sunny skies, some low level stratus hanging around this morning.  The ridge strengthens for Saturday and Sunday with warm air aloft. Still appears to be unsettled for Monday as the first of a series of weak lows sweep through the area into Mid week.

This is a picture of of the terrain where Michael Schumacher had his ski accident.

Please remember that 20 cm of snow will cover many rocks and other obstacles creating just one issue in the whole picture. Small avalanches may also create a significant hazard as any type of ride in the present terrain conditions could be life changing. Being situationally aware of your surroundings and the changing conditions may help you avoid an unfortunate incident. Using your brain can be beneficial when dealing with the present conditions.

Update on Avalanche Fatility in Eaglehead Mountain, Montana: GNFAC

If you are new to the mountains, an AST 1 course is a good idea: Canada West Mountain School

Trans Canada Highway closed until Friday Morning: High Avalanche Danger

Major Storm for Eastern B.C. : CBC News

Self Rescue in the backcountry: D'Arcy McLeish

Thanks to Jeff Van Driel for this photo and observations below:

I have some obs from today and even pulled off a photo in the clag.

We skied out to Cowboy Ridge and back today. Couldn't see much! The sky was obscured, it was snowing up to 2cm/hr, -2, and winds were moderate from the SW.

We found 20 cm of new snow, and up to 50cm in loaded areas. We got predictable whumphs down by singing creek and in shallow ridge top rocky areas. As we skinned across and over singing pass trail to the uphill side of the trail I got a couple chunks to break off with limited propagation down 50-55 on facets.
We also had a report of a sz 1 ski cut on a loaded roll on Oboe.

The persistent ridge rebuilding for the weekend.

The large-scale pattern of a ridge off the west coast and broad troughing over the Eastern Canada is not particularly unusual. However, this pattern usually sets up over January to February rather than mid-December as it did this season. Under this flow regime, northerly low pressure systems are shunted well into Alaska and northern BC. Southerly low pressure stalls on the westerly periphery of the ridge, unable to progress through the center of the ridge of high pressure; these systems typically weaken and fizzle out. The surface high pressure effectively blocks west to east flow. 
We usually look for an initial wave to weaken the northern portion of the ridge, then stronger low pressure drops southeastward out of the Gulf of Alaska as the blocking ridge retreats into the tropics or begins to move eastward.
In the past this has happened in February and even as late as March. Only time will tell!!

Satellite picture from yesterday morning.

Jet stream split but looking favourable for some snow.

Blowing and snowing at the Horstman Hut. Gusts up to 75 Kph, steady at 40-60 S Jan 2Nd

The wind has changed certain features and the cornices were growing quickly yesterday.

Size 1 soft slabs in lee terrain were easily triggered yesterday on specific  features.

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