Lizard Range and Flathead Avalanche Forecast
Jan 14th, 2020 4:00PM
Cold temperatures are keeping the continuing supply of low density snow light and fluffy - so watch out for your sluff if you get into steep terrain. If you venture into the alpine, be careful around extra deep pockets of wind loaded snow.
Tuesday night: Mainly cloudy with scattered flurries bringing 5-10 cm of new snow. Light to moderate southwest winds. Alpine temperatures around -20 C.
Wednesday: Mainly cloudy with scattered flurries bringing 5-10 cm of new snow, clearing in the afternoon. Light to moderate southwest winds. Alpine high around -15 C.
Thursday: Mostly cloudy with scattered flurries bringing 10-20 cm of new snow. Light to moderate southwest winds. Alpine high around -13 C.
Friday: Mostly cloudy with scattered flurries bringing 5-10 cm of new snow. Light to moderate southwest winds. Alpine high around -8 C.
Reports of avalanche activity over the week have been steady, with each substantial snowfall accompanied by observations of natural, skier triggered, and explosives controlled storm slabs generally around size 2 (large). Reports from Monday include explosive and skier controlled storm slab avalanches up to size 1.5 and small natural loose dry. These MIN reports from Sunday describe natural storm slab avalanche activity including a cornice triggered size 2 storm slab.
Looking forward, a continuing supply of low density snow is expected to maintain heightened avalanche danger particularly in exposed areas where wind has loaded new snow into deeper and more reactive slabs. In sheltered areas, unconsolidated snow may be reactive to human triggering as dry loose sluffs.
Storm totals since last week are now over 1 m and counting. Surface instabilities are generally limited to the most recent accumulations, especially where winds have redistributed snow into reactive slabs in leeward features. In sheltered areas, the storm snow remains low density and unconsolidated.
Several crust layers exist in the mid to upper snowpack as a result of recent warming and rain events. These have not been identified as bed surfaces or failure planes in recent avalanche activity.
The bottom 10-20 cm of the snowpack consists of faceted snow and decomposing crusts. Although inherently weak, this basal layer has not been an active avalanche problem in our region for several weeks.
Terrain and Travel
- Don't let the desire for deep powder pull you into high consequence terrain.
- Be carefull around freshly wind loaded features.
- Be aware of the potential for loose avalanches in steep terrain where snow hasn't formed a slab.
Valid until: Jan 15th, 2020 5:00PM