THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON March 13, 2019 @ 6:18 am
Avalanche Advisory published on March 12, 2019 @ 6:18 am
Issued by Kevin Davis - Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center

Selkirks/Cabinets

bottom line

People get ready, there's a change a comin.  Warmer temperatures, wind, and new snow will fall on a firm snow surface on many aspects and also a patchy layer of surface hoar.  The storm just began about 4AM so conditions have not reached a problem level yet, but expect the hazard to rise to Considerable or High by later today and last into tomorrow.

How to read the advisory

Selkirks/Cabinets

How to read the advisory

People get ready, there's a change a comin.  Warmer temperatures, wind, and new snow will fall on a firm snow surface on many aspects and also a patchy layer of surface hoar.  The storm just began about 4AM so conditions have not reached a problem level yet, but expect the hazard to rise to Considerable or High by later today and last into tomorrow.

2. Moderate

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Above Treeline
Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

1. Low

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Near Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

1. Low

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Below Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
    Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1: Storm Slab
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 The storm is just rolling in at about 4AM and the temperatures up high are hovering in the mid 20s.  Only an inch or so has fallen but the NWS has issued a Winter Storm Warning for possibly over a foot of new snow.  This snow will be heavier than our current base of snow so that right there is potentially unstable.  South and west aspects are firm with a surface of sun and wind crust.  New snow on south and west aspects may not bond well, we'll have to see.  North and east aspects have a layer of surface hoar that could also be problematic.  Throw in wind loading from the SSW and we could see some natural avalanche activity, especially where wind loaded by later today.

Avalanche Problem 2: Wind Slab
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Alot of factors will combine to make for some tricky conditions later today and into tomorrow.  I feel like wind slabs will be your biggest problem where you encounter them.  The wind is blowing just enough up there, out of the WSW, to be loading up east and north aspects, possibly cross loading on NW aspects.  It's cold enough that the new snow will not bond well to the surface on those aspects.  If the storm keeps rolling we could have some natural avalanches from unstable windslab deposits up high just below the ridgelines.  Winds are expected to shift later today so keep your head on a swivel and look for deposition on multiple aspects.

recent observations

In the Selkirks yesterday we had excellent traveling on north and east aspects where the snow was light and soft.  Gaining a ridge at 6,000 feet just north of Abandon Mt. we rolled over into crusty surface conditions on a south aspect.  The crust was firmer on steeper faces exposed to the sun.  On the east face the snow graded from light powder on the northerly side to breakable crust on the southerly side, take your pick.  West aspects looked to be firm also but did not show signs of excess warming, like pinwheels and sloughing snow from trees.  The wind was blowing from the west and gusting into the 20s occasionally.  This was keeping the snow surface light everywhere so the crust did not get much stouter from the suns rays yesterday.  We did not observe any avalanche activity and overall the conditions were excellent still with good stability on all aspects and good sliding conditions on north and east aspects.  The avalanche hazard will increase today with wind and new snow.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

We've finally broke out of the cold.  I shouldn't have said that...  New snow on the way today with warmer temperatures and SWerly winds.  The freezing level may creep up to around 4,000 feet so you may get rained on on your way to the high country.  The NWS has issued a Winter Storm Warning for our area so you may experience heavy snow at times.  Winds will be steady out of the WSW so blowing snow will drift in on north and east aspects.  Snow is expected right through the day and into tonight.  The avalanche hazard will increase with the expected weather.

Weather observations from the Region
0600 temperature: 26 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 29 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: W
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 8 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 10 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 1 inches
Total snow depth: 109 inches
Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Spokane NWS
For 2000 ft. to 4000 ft.
Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday
Weather: Snow before 1pm, then rain and snow between 1pm and 2pm, then rain after 2pm. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 10pm. Patchy fog after 11pm. Chance of precipitation is 80%. A 20 percent chance of snow before 11am. Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny.
Temperatures: 38 deg. F. 27 deg. F. 38 deg. F.
Wind Direction: SW SW SW
Wind Speed: 3-7 6 3-6
Expected snowfall: 2-4 in. <1/2 in. none in.
For 4000 ft. to 6000 ft.
Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday
Weather: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Snow, mainly before 11pm. Breezy, with a southwest wind 10 to 20 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%. A 20 percent chance of snow before 11am. Partly sunny.
Temperatures: 27 deg. F. 20 deg. F. 28 deg. F.
Wind Direction: South Southwest NW to SW
Wind Speed: 16-22mph 10-20 6-10
Expected snowfall: 5-9 in. 2-4 in. nil 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.