Backcountry users in Oregon and Washington are being advised to avoid the western slopes of the Cascades Mountains range. The Northwest Avalanche Center in Seattle has issued an avalanche warning between Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier. But the danger zone might extend even farther than that.
Garth Ferber is an avalanche meteorologist at the Northwest Avalanche Center. He says over the last few days, Mt. Hood has received between 2 to 5 feet of snow in the higher elevations.
“That’s a lot of snow at any time of year. And that’s especially a lot of snow at this time of year considering that the sun is getting higher and higher and stronger and stronger,” says Ferber.
Parts of the Central Cascades have gotten similar weather in recent days, but the avalanche center’s forecasting area extends only as far south as Mt. Hood.
That means between Mt. Hood and Mt. Shasta in Northern California, there isn’t any formal avalanche forecasting taking place.
Jon Tapper, with the Central Oregon Avalanche Association, says for that reason, backcountry users should be cautious even outside the current warning area.