How avalanches happen
Avalanche danger is high across most of the North Cascades as a series of snow-laden winter storms sweep the North Cascades.
“Very dangerous avalanche conditions,” the Northwest Avalanche Center said Wednesday in its first warning of the season. “Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.”
“We have received significant snowfall, strong winds, and have a weak snowpack,” the website said. “This is a recipe for avalanches. It is not the time to travel in areas where avalanches can start, nor linger where they can run or stop.”
Some 40 inches of snow has fallen since Sunday at the Mt. Baker Ski Area, officials said at the website.
Ski area staff conduct avalanche controls within ski area boundaries.
According to reports archived at the Northwest Avalanche center, avalanches killed seven people in Washington state during the 2017-2018 season — including a snowmobiler at Park Butte in the Mount Baker National Recreation Area.
Northwest Avalanche Center is a nonprofit organization that uses meteorologists and field observers and is housed at the National Weather Service office in Seattle, according to its website.