|Wet Snow Avalanche:
Most avalanche professionals make a hard distinction between
dry snow and wet snow avalanches because they are such different
beasts. They are caused by different processes, they fail and
fracture differently, they are triggered differently and they
move differently down the slope. Really, there is a continuum
between wet and dry avalanches and professional workers use
the words: dry, damp, moist, wet and saturated to describe the
continuum. Wet avalanches cause relatively few avalanche fatalities,
consequently, they are studied less and are not as well understood.
|What causes them?
||Caused by putting too much additional
stress on the snowpack
||Caused by decreasing the strength of
|How do they involve people?
||Triggered by the victims or someone
in the victim’s party in 90 percent of cases
||Difficult for people to trigger. Most
accidents are from natural avalanches
|What are the contributing weather factors?
||Usually loading of wind drifted snow
or loading of new snow
||Usually by rain, prolonged melting by
sun or very warm temperatures
|How do they flow?
||Fast (80 mph or so) usually with a dust
||Slower (10-40 mph) like concrete and
usually without a dust cloud