THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON March 27, 2019 @ 5:45 am
Avalanche Advisory published on March 26, 2019 @ 5:45 am
Issued by Ben Bernall - Kootenai National Forest

Kootenai

bottom line

Cloud cover and lower temperatures will reduce the potential hazard of wet slides  on Tuesday. Expect the wet slide potential to rise again on Wednesday on slopes exposed to solar radiation on Wednesday as sunshine returns.

How to read the advisory

Cloud cover and lower temperatures will reduce the potential hazard of wet slides  on Tuesday. Expect the wet slide potential to rise again on Wednesday on slopes exposed to solar radiation on Wednesday as sunshine returns.

1. Low

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

2. Moderate

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

2. Moderate

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Below Treeline
Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
    Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1: Loose Wet
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Multiple days of warm temperatures are slowly bringing the snowpack to a state of "mush" as the steep slopes shed their loose snow and water permeates any existing weak layers. Cloud cover and lower temperatures will decrease the frequency of small wet slides on Tuesday particularly at upper elevations. Tuesday night will likely see mountain temperatures drop below freezing again and lock the snow together before the sun comes out Wednesday. Continue to pay attention to the sun before dropping into steep slopes that are exposed to the sun on Wednesday.

Avalanche Problem 2: Glide
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Glide cracks continue to be seen on most any aspect or elevation where the continuous warm temperatures have caused free water to lubricate the underlying bed surface, this problem may be a concern where the snow is resting on rock slab or bear grass. We have yet to see any slides associated with this problem but it is a potential. Watch for large cracks on steep slopes and avoid lingering under these features on warm or sunny days. Super simple.

advisory discussion

So, we have gone almost a week without dropping below freezing at the mountain snotel sites. At this point we are seeing very little in natural avalanche activity which is surprising considering the number of days we have gone without freezing temps. The avalanche activity that we have seen has been limited to very small, loose wet slides that are staying on the surface and not releasing in the form of deeper slab layers. Stability will be improved on Tuesday as a weak system moves in and brings cloud cover to the area and a return to freezing temperatures Tuesday night. Continue to pay attention to overhead hazards such as cornice fall and glide cracks as the week goes on and the sun pokes its' shiny head out. The current snow stability issues are very manageable right now just by paying attention to the sun and what is going on around you.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary
Backcountry Forecast from NWS Missoula issued:
400 AM MDT Tue Mar 26 2019

DISCUSSION: A slow'ish moving cold front is poised to impact north
central Idaho into northwest Montana this morning and through the
bulk of today. The front is expected to stall for a time over
this area before gradually shifting south and east with time. In
doing so, several hours of high elevation snow and valley rain 
will be common, with snow levels lowering through the day. A 
brief break in the action will be followed by more moisture late 
Wednesday through most of Thursday (and possibly longer). For this
time period, snow is anticipated to impact west central and 
southwest Montana moreso than NW Montana.


Kootenai:

--------------------------- 5000-7000 FT ----------------------------
                      Today        Tonight      Wed      
Cloud Cover           75%          40%          35%      
Hi/Lo Temps           35 to 46     24 to 28     39 to 49 
Winds(mph)            SW 15G33     SW 11G32     NE 10G28 
Precip Chc            40           0            0        
Precip Type           showers      none         none     
Liquid Amt            0.03         0.00         0.00     
Snow Ratio(SLR)       10:1         0            0        
Snow Amt(in)          0            0            0        

Snow Level            4500         3500         3000     
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.