You are here

Avalanche Forecast for 2019-01-26 05:27

  • EXPIRED ON January 27, 2019 @ 5:27 am
    Published on January 26, 2019 @ 5:27 am
  • Issued by Nick Meyers - Shasta-Trinity National Forest

The avalanche danger is LOW for all elevations and aspects. Exercise normal caution. Bring an ice axe, crampons, and a helmet if venturing above treeline. Scoured, icy slopes present slide for life conditions. Be watchful for falling rime ice.

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

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

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

Avalanche Problem 1: Normal Caution

  • Character ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?

Exercise normal caution in the backcountry:

  • Carry a beacon, shovel, and probe and know how to use them.
  • Create a travel plan; stick to your travel plan.
  • Actively look for evidence of instability while on the snow such as fresh wind slabs or unstable cornices.
  • Communicate well within your group. Expose only one person at a time to avalanche terrain.

SPECIAL NOTE: Watch out for falling rime ice today. Our warm spell will cause rime ice to dislodge and fall down onto terrain below. A report from a skier in Avalanche Gulch yesterday noted, "baseball size chunks of ice whizzing by my head". Furthermore, we had a climber take a 400 foot fall on low angle terrain yesterday evening, also in Avalanche Gulch. Both these incidents highlight the seriousness of the climbing conditions on Mount Shasta currently. Stay out from underneath steep slopes with rime ice above and be prepared to turn around if icy slopes are encountered. 

Forecast Discussion

If the rain got you down this past weekend, sun soaked northern California should have you back up. Spring style corn snow is being served on southerly facing slopes despite rain runnels. On the mountain, one can find the same, as well as continued variable, wind blown snow surfaces. Falling rime ice has been a problem, along with slide-for-life conditions in the alpine. An ice axe, crampons, and helmet are a very good idea, but realize that self-arrest will be difficult.

Check out the NOAA Climate Prediction Center weather outlooks for the remainder of the season. We (Mount Shasta City) currently sit at 95% of normal for the month of January and 65% of normal for the wet season (since October 1st).

Recent Observations

  • Temperatures have ranged from 36 to 51 degrees F in the last 24 hours near 7,600 feet. Winds have picked up early this morning, averaging 18 mi/hr, gusting up to 43 mi/hr. Height of snow (HS) at 7,600 feet is 97 inches. 
  • Below treeline, snow conditions are rough with rain runnels and frozen, breakable and lumpy snow surfaces.
  • Near treeline, transitional snow will be encountered as rain runnels dissipate and wind blown and sometimes breakable snow forms begin.
  • Above treeline, one will find firm conditions with icy ridgelines and morain tops, variable sastrugi formations.
  • Southerly facing, sunny slopes have been hosting supportable and good corn snow. 
  • No avalanches or signs of instability have been observed since last weekend.
  • Rime ice is plastered to exposed rocks on Mount Shasta. Rime will fall off onto climbers below during this current warm spell. Wear a helmet. Limit time in below steep slopes. Large chunks of rime ice can function much like a rock.

    1.26.19 - Casaval Ridge with the West Face to lookers left and Avalanche Gulch to the right. / Photo: Koster

Weather and Current Conditions

Weather Summary

A classic winter-time ridge is in place and accompanied by air stagnation, inversions, fog and low clouds in the valleys. The ridge of high pressure will gradually weaken into early next week, but conditions will still stay dry with mainly sunshine in the mountains. Next Wednesday, a few weather systems will begin to impact the region. The stronger and wetter system is forecast for late Thursday and Friday. This storm could bring significant precipitation with near normal snow levels for January. Today will be a warm one with light winds.

24 Hour Weather Station Data @ 4:00 AM

Weather Station Temp (°F) Wind (mi/hr) Snow (in) Comments
Cur Min Max Avg Avg Max Gust Dir Depth New Water Equivalent Settlement
Mt. Shasta City (3540 ft) 29 29 52 38 3 N
Sand Flat (6750 ft) 29 26 48 34 82 0 0 1
Ski Bowl (7600 ft) 37.5 36 51 41.5 97 0 0 2
Gray Butte (8000 ft) 43.5 38.5 51 43.5 7 43 NE
Castle Lake (5870 ft)
Mount Eddy (6509 ft) 35 35 50 44.5 2 14 S 71 0 3
Ash Creek Bowl (7250 ft)
Ash Creek Ridge (7895 ft)

Two Day Mountain Weather Forecast

Produced in partnership with the Medford NWS

For 7000 ft to 9000 ft
(5 a.m to 11 p.m.)
Saturday Night
(11 p.m. to 5 a.m.)
(5 a.m to 11 p.m.)
Weather Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperature (°F) 50 43 52
Wind (mi/hr) North 0-5 East 5-10 Southeast 0-5
Precipitation SWE / Snowfall (in) / 0 / 0 / 0
For 9000 ft to 11000 ft
  Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather Sunny and breezy Clear and breezy Sunny
Temperature (°F) 38 36 36
Wind (mi/hr) North 15-20 Northeast 0 West 0-5
Precipitation SWE / Snowfall (in) / 0 / 0 / 0

Season Precipitation for Mount Shasta City

Period Measured (in) Normal (in) Percent of Normal (%)
From Oct 1, 2019 (the wet season) 13.93 21.00 66
Month to Date (since Apr 1, 2020) 5.52 5.79 95
Year to Date (since Jan 1, 2020) 5.52 5.79 95


This forecast does not apply to Ski Areas or Highways and is for the Mt. Shasta, Castle Lake and Mt. Eddy backcountry. Use this information for guidance only. You may find different conditions in the backcountry and should travel accordingly. This forecast expires on midnight of the date it was posted unless otherwise noted.