Avalanche Forecast organization improves
by Bob Comey, Director and Lead Forecaster, Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Forecast Center
August 28, 2007
The Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Forecast Center has seen some additions and upgrades in the last season due to funding from the nonprofit Avalanche Forecast Support Organization and thanks to people who supporting their work.
- A new weekly snowpack summary allows viewers of the daily web forecast (at www.jhavalanche.org) to see what happened over the previous week or any week during the season, and thus gain a bigger-picture understanding of how the snowpack has changed.
- Supplemental funding continues to allow them to extend the forecast season earlier in the year and remain open longer in the spring.
- Avalanche forecasters have been able to spend more time in the field, making backcountry observations. This helps them continually improve the accuracy of their forecasts.
- They have purchased new software enabling them to move closer to their goal of being able to graphically display avalanche events using GIS technology.
They have also spent much of this summer transposing more than 30 years of historical avalanche data into digital records - a goal for many years, but one that took supplemental funding to allow them to complete. This is the first step in allowing the Avalanche Forecast Center to use this information in more effective ways for forecasting, and also make the data available to the public.
In the future, this will allow them to:
- Search the database for similar conditions when they are producing future forecasts, which will give them more perspective on what avalanches happened in the past given imilar conditions.
- Have easy access to historical data (coldest day, snowiest multi-day period, longest dry period, deepest day, etc.).
- Make this historical information available to the public on their web site (total snow depth, total season snowfall, temperatures for any day in the database going back to fall 1974).
For more information, call 307-739-2607 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bridger-Teton National Forest Backcountry Avalanche and Weather Forecast Center