80mph winds forecast

25th February 2008

The winds steadily increased today making progress difficult at times. During the morning the snowfall was light with the result that the areas of windslab were localised and fairly shallow. From midday the precipitation has become heavier and without doubt the new deposits will have continued to drift in the strong winds increasing the depth and distribution of the unstable windslab. The old snow has refrozen and is very firm – with today’s strong wind even easy angled slopes required crampons to give some purchase on the icy surface. The temperatures have been gradually rising and the freezing level is forecast to reach 1200 metres overnight. Overnight precipitation will be of sleet then wet snow and finally snow as the freezing level once again lowers to 900 metres. This area has been forecast snow showers but we have been advised that the East will be drier than the West – as ever the avalanche hazard will be dependent on the volume of snow and frequency of the showers.
The winds tomorrow are forecast to come from the West and be 80mph. These kind of winds will seriously affect progress and be dangerous if you get blown over in the wrong location. They do mean that windslab can only form in quantity in the most sheltered locations, with the snow being blown away from areas that are exposed to the winds. These sheltered locations will quickly acquire deep unstable windslab if the snow showers arrive with some frequency. So stay clear of the deeper fresh snow tomorrow especially if it has a firm snow-ice base.
Sam.

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