Southern Mountains

Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 1:13pm

Issued by: Chris Bilbrey
WednesdayThursdayLow (1)

Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

Low (1)

Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

Danger ScaleNo Rating1Low2Moderate3Considerable4High5Extreme



Avalanche conditions are generally safe. Look for isolated areas of wind-drifted snow on north to east-facing slopes in the alpine and along ridgelines. If you find an area of drifted snow more than about a foot deep, there is a small chance you can trigger a small avalanche. Getting knocked off your feet or taking a ride can be dangerous as it will likely drag you through rocks, downed timber, and other nasty obstacles.

Weather Discussion

A weak shortwave system to our north will bring strengthening winds and increasing cloud cover to Colorado Tuesday night. High pressure builds yet again on Wednesday with most mountain areas seeing another warm and sunny day, and continued gusty conditions.  Wednesday night is cool and clear with nighttime lows in the teens to mid 20s. 

We are issuing morning and afternoon Zone Weather Forecasts. You can check current conditions on the Weather Stations page.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

The snowpack across the Southern Mountains is generally too shallow, discontinuous, and weak to pose much in the way of avalanche problems. CAIC forecast staff report a significant decrease in snow distribution and snow depth in the San Juan Mountains (ob 1, ob 2) since the end of October. Finding and accessing snow covered areas large enough to ride is becoming more difficult each day.

Stiff, wind-drifted snow above softer snow is found in isolated terrain features at higher elevations. Thickest drifts are found in wind-sheltered couloirs and below ridges on north to east-facing slopes. Although these avalanches should be small, they may still be able to knock you off your feet and drag you through unforgiving obstacles. 

The shallow snowpack continues to weaken and facet during this prolonged period of warm days and cold nights. Slabs will degrade and conditions will remain generally safe until we receive more snow. This faceted snow will become a weak layer for future avalanche once slabs build on top. Tracking the distribution of snow now will help you avoid problems later when a period of stormy weather returns.




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