Avalanche Education and Kestrel Weather Meters

Avalanche Education and Kestrel Weather Meters

Envisioning yourself in the midst of an avalanche is enough to make most people panic. According to National Geographic, a fully-developed avalanche can weigh up to a million tons and travel at speeds of over 200 MPH.

Not only is it terrifying to consider the unthinkable amount of snow during an avalanche, but many don't consider the soil, ice, and rocks that can come along with it.

While it takes a special set of circumstances for an avalanche to begin, this doesn't mean that those who love exploring nature in winter weather---or even public and private sectors---should forego education.

What is Avalanche Education?

Susan Purvis is a best-selling author of “Go Find,” a memoir that documents how she trains a Labrador Retriever named Tasha to rescue people who are buried from avalanches. Her passion is in the field of finding, recovering, and rescuing the lost. Today, Susan is also an avalanche course instructor who uses Kestrel weather meters to aid in her training.

Her avalanche courses and training are beneficial to many types of people and sectors, including highways, parks, forestry, mining, and lift-based ski areas. Recreation involves snowshoeing, ice climbing, snowboarding, and more.

Weather Observation and Avalanche Safety

When you're up against the forces of nature, being prepared can help save your life. Weather observation is one of the key considerations for avalanche training and safety.

According to the Canadian Avalanche Association, daily weather observations can help evaluate changes in snow stability. Some of these observations include:

  • Level of clouds
  • Fog
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Mixed rain and snow
  • Hail
  • Freezing rain
  • Relative humidity
  • Wind direction and wind speed
  • The temperature of the air and snow
  • Barometric pressure

The guide also provides visual indicators such as the wind speed chart below, although it's most accurate to use a weather tracker such as Kestrel for precise readings.

visual indicator

When tracking weather data with Kestrel, it's noted that storminess, temperature, wind, the steepness of the slope, terrain, vegetation, and general snowpack conditions are all factors that influence whether an avalanche happens and what type occurs.

Measuring Weather Conditions with Kestrel

The guideline notes that daily observation is part of the training for avalanche safety. Kestrel weather meters are portable devices that can work anywhere in the world, whether you're worried about avalanches on Mount Everest or near the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Kestrel sets up as a portable weather device with a wind meter, tracking wind direction and speed no matter how quickly it changes. It also measures the other essential elements that matter for avalanche tracking, including temperature and humidity.

As this data is tracked daily, it can be exported via Bluetooth for your review. From there, you can detect changes and patterns that may increase the risk of an avalanche in the future. It's important to note that not all geographic locations will have identical patterns when it comes to weather tracking and avalanches.

Stay Safe with Kestrel and Avalanche Education

Kestrel is a critical piece of the puzzle to ensuring your safety and prediction of upcoming avalanches. With our wide selection of rugged and accurate weather trackers, you're bound to find the perfect fit for your next snow adventure.

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