After a few days of high pressure in Hakuba, we now return you to your previously scheduled programming: Japow! It looks like we’ll be having a bit of wet and heavy snow and a bit of rain over the next few days, with a much larger storm coming in next week. Snow Forecast and YR differ on what snow is falling when, but they pretty much agree that there will be a lot of it falling all next week.
Precipitation began yesterday, as rain. It turned to snow shortly after, but it has been very warm, wet, and heavy. It looks it will stay warm for the next couple of days, and then cool quite a bit as the storm arrives in full force.
Rain, wet snow, and warm temperatures have made for very unstable avalanche conditions. The original rain and wet stuff hardened up into a bed surface, and the new wet snow was extremely reactive on top of it. Be very careful out there the next few days, and be attentive to how next week’s storm snow reacts with the current wet stuff.
I would stay away from avalanche terrain for the next couple of days, until the new settles down and we see how it reacts with the coming storm. Don’t be fooled by the fact that JAN said Avalanche Danger was Considerable last week, and was also Considerable today (when you set your ratings too high during stable conditions, its hard to make unstable conditions look as scary!). The snow pack is much more unstable out there right now than it has been for most of this winter.