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SIMPLE OBSERVATION FORM
 Date: 01.30.18
 Location:  driving Hailey to Garden Valley and back Zone/Region:  Sawtooth Mountains
 Activity:   windshield time
MESSAGE
 Comments: Driving Hailey to Banner 6:30-8:30AM:
Raining in Hailey, rain snow mix around Ketchum, snow by SNRA HQ. Light precip, just a trace to skiff accumulated up to Galena Summit. 29*F on Galena Summit, Mod-strong W winds at pass but not blowing hard in middle elevation terrain on the Ketchum side of the pass. Smiley Creek side of the pass: much windier and warmer…35*F and rain snow mix in Smiley Creek with no snow left in the trees. All snow from Alturas Lake turnoff to 4th of July turn off, then rain snow mix for a bit, then moderate rain in Stanley. Snowing again from Trap Creek to Banner Summit.

Driving back Banner to Ketchum 4-6PM:
Graupel/slop from Banner to Stanley with moderate winds. Strong W winds creating whiteout conditions on highway at times from Stanley to Beaver Creek. Not that much new snow, but obvious extreme winds in alpine in White Clouds and Sawtooths based on plumes and visible evidence. Sawtooths still intermittently socked in and snowing. Obvious evidence of wind-effect at middle and lower elevations on both sides of Galena Summit.

Lower Elevation summary: Not enough snow available for transport to cause big concerns, also rain near Stanley minimized snow transport.
Middle Elevation summary: Probably formed isolated wind slabs, but I think the main result was to subtly wind load slopes/form “wind skins” on the surface and exacerbate any persistent slab problems. I doubt there are that many middle elevation slopes that have a significant, fresh wind slab problem in the absence of a persistent weak layer.
Upper Elevation summary: Appeared to be blowing very hard – hard enough to create hard slabs instead of soft slabs…located well below ridgelines and in atypical locations…and should be isolated rather than widespread.

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