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New-fallen snow

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What?

Characteristics

The avalanche problem is related to current or most recent snowfall. The amount of additional loading by new snow onto the existing snowpack is the crucial factor of the new snow problem. How critical the loading is depends on various factors such as temperature or characteristics of the old snow surface.

Expected avalanche types

  • Dry‐snow slab avalanches
  • Dry loose snow avalanches
  • Natural and human triggered avalanches

Where?

Spatial distribution

Generally widely present and often in all aspects.

Position of weak layers in the snowpack

Usually at the transition to the old snow surface, but sometimes in the new snow layers and sometimes also deeper in the old snowpack.

Why?

Release characteristics

  • Dry‐snow slab avalanches: Additional load due to snowfall on existing or newly created weak layers
  • Dry loose snow avalanches: Lack of cohesion between the new snow particles

When?

Duration

Typically during snowfall and up to a few days after.

How to manage?      

Identification of the problem in the field

The new snow problem is fairly easy to recognize. Watch out for new snow amounts and recent avalanche activity. Be aware of slight weather changes affecting new snow conditions.

Travel advice

  • Dry‐snow slab avalanches: Wait until the snowpack stabilizes.
  • Dry loose snow avalanches: Danger of falling is more important than danger of burial. Consider consequences in steep terrain.

Typical accident

Meierhofer Tälli, Davos (GR), 17 February 2012