Mountain Weather and Avalanche Forecasting

The Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) is a collaborative effort between the US Forest Service Northwest Avalanche Center and the non-profit Northwest Avalanche Center. The mission of NWAC is to save lives and reduce the impacts of avalanches on recreation, industry and transportation in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains of Washington and northern Oregon through mountain weather and avalanche forecasting, data collection and education.

NWAC employs three professional meteorologists with expertise in both mountain weather and avalanche forecasting. The forecasters are on duty from September through June and produce daily mountain weather and backcountry avalanche forecasts from mid-November when the snow starts to fall through mid-April when spring weather arrives. The forecasters are US Forest Service employees but are housed at the National Weather Service office on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) campus at Sand Point in Seattle.

To supplement the forecasters limited field time, NWAC contracts five professional field observers who provide regular backcountry snowpack information from the Olympics, Cascades and Mt Hood area. The observers provide observations, snowpack data, and media three times a week from selected areas in their respective regions to assist the forecasters with their daily avalanche forecasts. The professional field observer program is funded by the by the Friends of the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center.

NWAC forecasters obtain additional weather and snowpack information from a variety of program cooperators, including the Washington State Department of Transportation avalanche program, ski area professional patrols, the Olympic and Mt Rainier National Park Service rangers, and many others.

The compilation of the above expertise and information enables NWAC to be the best source of mountain weather and avalanche information in the Northwest. NWAC’s forecasts are provided to the public directly through NWAC and are a valuable source of information for a wide variety of weather forecasting agencies and private companies.
See website HERE for further info on; Education, Data collection, administration, funding and memberships.