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Snowfall began last night and continues through the early morning across the advisory area. As of 4:00 am, mountain temperatures range from 23º-31º F with winds moving out of the southwest at 5-15 mph gusting to 35 mph. Snow totals thus far across the advisory area range from 3-9 inches with 0.4-0.9 inches of snow water equivalent (SWE). All of this fell within the past 9 hours. This is a rapid load! Expect snowfall to contiue today into tonight with an additional 5-8 inches by tonight. Winds will be out of the southwest most of the day 10-20 mph with gusts into the 35-45 mph range.
Reports of human triggered avalanches continued yesterday. Skiers in the southern Whitefish Range reported 2 separate (both intentional and unintentional) human triggered avalanches in the Canyon Creek area (image) failing on the surface hoar layer above the melt-freeze crust. The storm Saturday into Sunday buried surface hoar about 40-50 cm (16-20 inches) deep in most locations across the advisory area and current snowfall will bury it even deeper.
Numerous parties reported natural and human triggered avalanches Saturday into Sunday (observations) throughout the Swan and Whitefish ranges. On Monday we rode into the Red Meadow area in the northern Whitefish Range and unintentionally triggered a small convex rollover (image) and a cut bank along the road into Red Meadow (image). We investigated both slides (video and snow profile) and avoided steep slopes and runout zones all day.
BNSF Avalanche Safety reported collapsing of the snowpack in their travels yesterday in John F. Stevens Canyon in southern Glacier Park. They also reported natural activity from last weekend with a crown that reached back into lower angled terrain (<30 degrees).
This storm looks to continue through today into tomorrow. Stability will get worse before it gets better.
Note: Big Mt. Summit weather station wind sensor values are invalid. The wind sensor requires maintenance. We are headed up there on Friday to troubleshoot. Thanks for your patience.
The Avalanche Warning will either be allowed to expire or updated tomorrow morning by 7:00 am.
This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.