Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center upgrades system
by Bob Comey, Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center
January 3, 2012
Conditions are dangerous out there. Steep slopes that were so unstable that they were releasing naturally or on approach may be gaining enough stability that people will be able to get out upon them and then trigger them. Be careful!
A few upgrades to our network of automated weather stations are described as follows:
The Geospatial Science and Engineering Team at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have completed an update to the graphic display of the data from our five highest wind stations. This wind graph display is available in the weather station sub-menu of our weather and snow data pull down menu (http://www.jhavalanche.org/graphs/a_weatherAll.php). The upgrade has switched the wind direction arrows in the graph 180 degrees so that the arrows point away from the direction of the wind instead of towards the direction of the wind. The y axis scale has also been added to the right side of these graphs to make these graphs more friendly when viewed from smart phones. We still have a few issues on this part of this upgrade so your patience is appreciated. Several other backside improvements not visible to the user have also been added. Thanks to Mike Connolly and his team (especially John Koudelka) at INL for these upgrades and their participation in our program.
Our new Commissary Ridge weather station is up and running. This station is located at an elevation of 9,300 feet and provides temperature, snowfall and wind data from the south end of the Salt River Range. The location of this station is designated on the google earth display of the avalanche events map section of our website. The station icon on this map has links to the data from this station. The purchase and installation of this station was funded by a Recreational Trails Program Grant that was obtained in partnership with Wyoming State Trails Program. This station is located in complex avalanche terrain that is very popular with local and regional snowmobilers. Members of the Star Valley Search & Rescue Group have volunteered to assist in the operation of this station.
The new Freds Mountain wind station is also operational and has just been equipped with a new temperature and humidity sensor. This station is located at the top of Freds Mountain at Grand Targhee Resort and was purchased and is being operated by the resort and their ski patrol. An icon on the avalanche event map section of our website delineates the location of this station and provides links to the station data.
The data from both of these new stations is posted in our 24 hour weather station data sheet every morning by about 5:30 AM and is being added to other areas of our website.
In addition to the new weather station upgrades we have also added new observation forms to our website. There are now two forms for your use that are accessible though the contact us menu of our site. The avalanche observation form has been upgraded to allows the observer to use google map technology to designate the location of the avalanche event they are reporting and to upload photographs of the event. Size and resolution requirements for these photos are specified.
There is also a form for daily field observations and a location on the website to view these observations. This is a new form with a format that is under development. At this time form focuses on current conditions and avalanche warning signs. If necessary, use the comment section of this form to provide a brief statement if you need to expand upon the observation information provided.
Field observation are submitted to the center, reviewed and then posted on our website in the field observation section of the site for all users to view at
Your patience is appreciated as these new forms get initial use and evolve.
Stay safe and enjoy the new snow.