THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON March 23, 2019 @ 6:42 am
Avalanche Advisory published on March 22, 2019 @ 6:42 am
Issued by Melissa Hendrickson - Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

Selkirks/Cabinets
St. Regis Basin/Silver Valley

bottom line

Today is another sunny one, which makes 5 days in a row that we haven't recieved freezing temperatures at our highest SNOTELS.  The avalanche danger is directly related to this warming period.  Expect the danger to rise as the day progresses; if the snow turns sloppy, it's time to beat feet out of avalanche terrain.  While the temperatures are going to cool a bit on Saturday and Sunday, rain at the mid and low elevations will keep the danger increased.  

How to read the advisory

Selkirks/Cabinets
St. Regis Basin/Silver Valley

How to read the advisory

Today is another sunny one, which makes 5 days in a row that we haven't recieved freezing temperatures at our highest SNOTELS.  The avalanche danger is directly related to this warming period.  Expect the danger to rise as the day progresses; if the snow turns sloppy, it's time to beat feet out of avalanche terrain.  While the temperatures are going to cool a bit on Saturday and Sunday, rain at the mid and low elevations will keep the danger increased.  

3. Considerable

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Above Treeline
Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.

3. Considerable

?

Near Treeline
Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.

3. Considerable

?

Below Treeline
Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.
    Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.
Avalanche Problem 1: Loose Wet
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There is a very small window on the shaded parts of the North aspect that is holding decent snow, but move a couple of degrees off N and your potential for point-release avalanches increases.  Plan to be out of avalanche terrain before the snow gets soggy.  If you are seeing rollerballs or pinwheels, head to safer country.  There is the potential for loose wet avalanches to trigger larger, more dangerous wet slabs.  

Avalanche Problem 2: Loose Wet
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Remember all those forecasts earlier this winter where we were talking about persistent weak layers?  Then we took them off the forecast because they weren't reacting any more and we'd let you know if there was a change in the snowpack that changed our mind? This weeks warming period is that event.  As more water travels down through the pack from melting snow or rain, the slab above looses its bond with the underlying weak layer after becoming saturated with water.  The potential for this rises with the increasing number of days of unusually warm weather or rain.  These are unpredictable and rarely give unstable results in pit test.  Use wise avalanche terrain choices as the days warm.  If the snow is getting sloppy and not supporting your weight, then it can't support its own weight either!

recent observations

Extended warm weather problems are what we are dealing with right now.  We didn't mention glides or cornices in the above problems, but these dangers definitely are lurking out there as well. If you see large cracks opening up in the snow, get out!  And remember that long warm periods are a recipe for cornice failure.  I'm certainly not going to be hanging out around or under them.

 We rode up around the Silver Lake/Dominion area yesterday and lots of evidence from the past couple days of what the sun has done to the snow.  Tree bombs everywhere, rollerballs across the trail, loose wet slides in the steeps.  The slopes were already deteriorating by 10:30 on Thursday morning, so expect the same today.  Charge your headlamps and be prepared to Dawn Patrol if you are wanting to get out in avalanche terrain.  HIt it early and get out before it heats up.  While stability tests may not show us anything askew, Mother Nature gives us plenty of signs that the snow pack is turning unstable. Temperatures above freezing, lots of sun, rollerballs, point releases from around rocks, tree bombs, the snow being sloppy or slushy and not supporting our snowmobiles or skis. If you are seeing these signs, it's time to get out of harms way! 

 

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Spokane NWS
For 2000 ft. to 4000 ft.
Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Partly Sunny Slight Chance Showers Chance Showers
Temperatures: 52 deg. F. 35 deg. F. 48 deg. F.
Wind Direction: S SW W
Wind Speed: 3-5 3-6 7
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. Rain<0.1 in.
For 4000 ft. to 6000 ft.
Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Mostly Sunny Slight Chance Snow Showers Chance Snow showers
Temperatures: 44 deg. F. 30 deg. F. 37 deg. F.
Wind Direction: W W W
Wind Speed: 5-7 8-13 9-11
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. <.5 in.
Disclaimer

Avalanche conditions change for better or worse continually. Backcountry travelers should be prepared to assess current conditions for themselves, plan their routes of travel accordingly, and never travel alone. Backcountry travelers can reduce their exposure to avalanche hazards by utilizing timbered trails and ridge routes and by avoiding open and exposed terrain with slope angles of 30 degrees or more. Backcountry travelers should carry the necessary avalanche rescue equipment such as a shovel, avalanche probe or probe ski poles, a rescue beacon and a well-equipped first aid kit.  For a recorded version of the Avalanche Advisory call (208)765-7323.

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