This is the annual report of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for the winter of 2001-02. It describes the operations of the CAIC and the important events of the winter season. This annual report contains the executive summary; funding and budget; operations; weather and avalanche synopsis; detailed winter summary; information acquisition; dissemination of hazard forecasts; public education; forecasting for Colorado’s highways; and severance tax projects. 45 pages. Digital PDF download. IS-61D
Excerpted from the report:
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) completed its 18th year as a program of the State of Colorado. For the first time since the mid-1980s there would be no El Niño (warmer than average sea temperatures off the west coasts of North and South America) or La Niña (colder than average temperatures) to affect Colorado’s weather. By the end of the season when all the numbers were added together and compared, the winter of 2000-01 was pretty typical.
Winter had trouble establishing a pattern and sticking to it. The result was seasonal snowfall that was overall below normal, though a few sites managed to end the year above normal. The mountain snowpack was typically shallow, sugary, and very weak most of the winter. This meant it was very easy to trigger avalanches, and thus there was a record number of people caught by avalanches. But avalanche size was typically small, so that most victims escaped unharmed. A total of 2,867 avalanches was reported to the Center (33% above the average of 2,160). There were few large storms, few extensive avalanche cycles, and no large destructive avalanches. Avalanche Warnings were posted on 14 days (less than half of normal). There were four avalanche deaths (two below normal), despite a record number of people caught by avalanches (113). Property damage was nil.