Item: Northwest avalanche forecasting program - form, content, dissemination, usage
Title: Northwest avalanche forecasting program - form, content, dissemination, usage
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1980 International Snow Science Workshop, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Authors: Mark Moore and Rich Marriott, USDA Forest Service, Avalanche Warning Center, Seattle, WA
Abstract: The present guidelines for form, content, dissemination, and usage of public daily back country avalanche forecasts in the Northwest have been developed primarily during the winters of 1978-80 by forecast staff of the Northwest Avalanche Forecasting Program. This program, currently administered by the US Forest Service (USFS) and cooperatively funded by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the National Park Service (NPS) with the additional vital cooperation of the National Weather Service (NWS), is an outgrowth of a research project initially funded in 1975 at the University of Washington by WSDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). Avalanche problems in the primarily maritime forecast area-including the Washington Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and_the northern Oregon Cascades-- affect approximately 50,000 km2 of mountainous terrain from 450 N to 490 N latitude and l200W to l25 0W longitude with major forecast elevations ranging from 900 m to more than 3000 m. Over 240 major avalanche paths affect approximately 250 km of state and Federal highways encompassing six mountain passes. Heavy yearly snowfall (ranging from 1000 to over 2500 cm), large freezing level fluctuations (from sea level to over 3000 m), and often strong winds combine to produce a predominance of direct action slab avalanching in the Northwest mountains. Due to recent greatly increased winter usage of undeveloped mountainous recreational areas in the Northwest, the need for reliable, timely, understandable, and educational public avalanche forecasts is evident.
Keywords: avalanche forecasting, safety, awareness, backcountry
Digital Abstract Not Available