Week 10: rising avalanche danger next couple of days!

By meteomorris on 8 March 2018 · 0

Last weekend was dramatic in the Alps. 13 people were killed by avalanches and that number might even rise because three people are still missing. Spring arrived with a bang this week after a very cold week and this resulted in a dangerous situation. How's the avalanche situation in the Alps right now?

Hereby the current avalanche overview of the Alps of week 10. The avalanche danger is MODERATE to CONSIDERABLE (3 on a scale of 5). A new storm is coming in from the southwest this weekend. This will result in rising temperatures, wet snow or rain to an ever increasing elevation and locally also a strong wind. Where the Föhn wind comes in, fresh wind drifted snow and mild temperatures must be taken into account. In the areas where precipitation comes down, the snow cover will become unstable due to rain and/or heavier fresh snow below 1500-2000 meters. Above that elevation, the amount of fresh snow can become critical because a fair amount of fresh snow is expected. Keep in mind that the avalanche danger will rise this weekend compared to the map below. Always check your local avalanche forecast and adjust your plans accordingly.

The avalanche forecast is an indispensable tool if you want to go off-piste. In addition to the current avalanche danger in the form of a figure, it contains a range of data that's very useful to you as a skier or snowboarder. You'll find a global overview of the Alps below with links to the various avalanche forecasts. For an explanation of the icons used and the avalanche scale, click here.

You can find an overview of the current avalanche situation in the Alps on wePowder every Thursday. It's based on the current avalanche forecast in the Alps. This overview is definitely not complete, but gives you a good impression of the current avalanche danger. We strongly advise you to read the complete avalanche forecast.

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Rising avalanche danger this weekend

The avalanche danger will rise with the new storm coming in. The remarkable rise in temperature, lots of fresh snow and rain and wind are known red flags for avalanche experts. No rights can be derived from the map below. It just gives you an overall view of the situation in the Alps. Always check the local avalanche forecast. You will find the direct links below, but you'll also find the links on the resort and ski area pages on wePowder.

A mild storm is moving into the Alps. It is only towards the end of the weekend that the temperature drops slightly, which can cause a stabilization after the rise in temperature. But before that time, an increasing temperature, wind, rain and snow ensure a rise of the avalanche danger. Below are the main avalanche problems per region:

Northwest and north of the Alps

The snow cover in the northwest and north of the Alps is already unstable locally, due to a snowed in weak layer just under the fresh snow cover of the past few days. This layer is difficult to recognize. With the strong Föhn (wind + rising temperatures) the situation remains critical. Biggest avalanche problems in the coming period:

  • fresh wind slabs = slab avalanches
  • snowed in weak layers
  • wet snow avalanches (below 1700 to 2200 meters)

Fresh snow is expected in the northwest and north including a temporary drop in temperature from Sunday evening. The fresh snow will result in a further rise of the avalanche danger.

Note: the site of Météo France is a drama and the links do not always work. Unfortunately, we can not do anything about that.

Southern Alps

Particularly in the western and central southern Alps there is a lot of precipitation in the form of rain and snow, it's relatively mild and there's a strong wind on the peaks of the main alpine ridge this weekend. This results in a further rise of the avalanche danger. Biggest avalanche problems in the coming period:

  • fresh wind slabs = slab avalanches
  • snowed in weak layers
  • wet snow avalanches (below 1200 to 1900 meters)

Direct links to the avalanche forecasts:

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