Hakuba Now daily snow and weather - Saturday 3rd March 2007

Hakuba Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Hakuba (Nagano), Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 9:00am on Saturday 3rd March 2007
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall
weather condition
Broken clouds
Base temp:

Top temp:
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
wind condition
Light from the north-west
Good to excellent\r\n
This report
Saturday 3rd March 2007, 9:00am
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Archive report: Posted at 9:00am on Saturday 3rd March 2007
The latest Hakuba Now report can be found here

This morning at 0700 hrs. it was 3 degrees above zero but the crust would easily bear walking on. The usual daily softening of the surface snow should take place quite a bit sooner today as compared to the recent cooler mornings. There is some form of precipitation forecast for Monday. Beware the lower elevation hazards that are emerging.

The Hira Kawa Snow Study Plot (830m a.s.l.) 0700 hr. reading is:

Sky: Scattered clouds(less than 50% cloud cover)
Temperature: Present: 3.5 C
Maximum: 13.0 C
Minimum: -4.5 C
Wind at surface: Light from the west
Winds aloft: Light to moderate from north-west (no ridge top blowing snow was observed)
Precipitation: Nil
Barometer and trend: 925 hPa and falling
Height of new snow in 24 hours (HN24): 0 cm
Total depth of snowpack (HS): 62 cm
Foot penetration: 0 cm
Surface: Melt freeze crystals, 3.0 mm
Density of surface snow: not measured
Crust: 20 cm
Cloud ceiling: above 3,000 m a.s.l.


Above tree line: Moderate

Tree line: Moderate

Below tree line: Low

N.B. As stated yesterday the hazard will increase with daily warming, especially with direct sunlight. There could be pockets of wind loaded snow that will still respond to the human trigger.

Travel Advisory:
Solar weakening of the snow around rocks and such should be treated with care. Remember that below tree line the snow pack is for the large part "isothermal" and the surface crust contributes largely to its strength ("Crust" and "Foot penetration" in the "Hira Kawa Snow Study Plot (830m a.s.l.) 0700 hr. reading"). With direct solar effect, poor overnight formation, and/or warm air this crust will break down. Rocks protruding from the snow surface (and covered boulders: the solar effect can penetrate surprisingly deep into the snow, and the shallower snow is inherently weaker) should be viewed as points of weakness rather than points of strength.

Another factor not dwelt on much in this report so far is that of cornices. Up above tree line there are some rather large cornices formed. With day-time temperatures rising these features tend to weaken and will eventually break off (also wind transport will cause them to grow beyond their structural integrity limits and then they can fail catastrophically). Aside from being unpredictable as to when they will fall, cornices tend to be heavy and structurally strong such that when they start hurtling down they don't tend to break up readily and so will sometimes travel (bouncing, yes bouncing, off the steep slope below to land way out on the flats) surprisingly far. You don't want to get hit by one of these things. Also, when they strike the slope they are exceptionally good avalanche triggers.

Archive report: Posted at 9:00am on Saturday 3rd March 2007
The latest Hakuba Now report can be found here

Hakuba Now ski lift operation notes:

All resorts operating.

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