Avalanche Sizes

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Size of avalanche, classified by destructive potential, runout lenght and dimension.


Size 1: Small (sluff)

  • minimal danger of burying (danger of falling)
  • snow relocation typically stops before the end of a slope


Size 2: Medium

  • could bury, injure or kill a person
  • snow avalanche stops typically at the end of a slope


Size 3: Large

  • could bury and destroy a car, damage a truck; destroy a small building or break a few trees
  • snow avalanche could traverse flat terrain (considerably below 30°) over distances of less than 50 m


Size 4: Very large

  • could bury and destroy a railway car, large truck, several buildings or a piece of forest
  • snow avalanche traverses flat terrain (considerably below 30°) over distances of more than 50 m and can reach valley ground


Size 5: Extremely large

  • could gouge the landscape; disastrous damage potential
  • snow avalanche reaches valley ground; largest runout distance known


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Size 1:

Size 2:

Size 3:

Size 4:
Very large

Size 5:
Extremely large