Lizard Range and Flathead Avalanche Forecast

Mar 20th, 2020 4:00PM

The alpine rating is low, the treeline rating is low, and the below treeline rating is low. Known problems include Loose Wet.

Low hazard doesn't mean no hazard. Still check your line for wind slab and watch for signs of warming on sun-exposed slopes when the sun feels strong.

Summary

Confidence

High -

Weather Forecast

Friday night: Clear. Moderate northwest wind. Freezing level valley bottom.

Saturday: Mix of sun and cloud with flurries in the evening. Moderate northwest wind. Freezing level 1800 m.

Sunday: Mix of sun and cloud. Moderate southwest wind. Freezing level 1800 m.

Monday: Scattered flurries. Strong northeast wind. Freezing level 1800 m.

Avalanche Summary

No new avalanches observed on Thursday. On Wednesday, a few small loose wet avalanches and wind slabs were observed on sun-exposed slopes. They released during the heat of the day, as the snowpack was baking in the sun.

On Monday, a large avalanche was remotely triggered near Fernie, as described in this MIN. The avalanche released on the faceted grains above the melt-freeze crust described in the Snowpack Summary. 

If you decide to travel in the backcountry, consider sharing your observations with us and fellow recreationists via the Mountain Information Network (MIN) to supplement our data stream as operators are shutting down. Even just a photo of what the day looked like would be helpful.

Snowpack Summary

Sunny skies have formed a melt-freeze crust on sun-exposed slopes. The alpine consists of wind affected snow from easterly wind, so you may find small pockets of wind slabs in atypical terrain features on south to west aspects.

A layer of faceted grains overly a melt-freeze crust from early February. This layer currently sits 30 to 60 cm below the surface and has been the culprit of recent avalanche activity near Fernie.

The middle of the snowpack is generally strong, but the base of the snowpack may contain a weak layer of faceted grains that are most prominent in shallow rocky start zones with a snowpack depth of 150 cm or less.

Terrain and Travel

  • Rocks will heat up with daytime warming and may become trigger points for loose wet avalanches
  • Cornices become weak with daytime heating or solar exposure.
  • Small avalanches can have serious consequences in extreme terrain. Carefully evaluate your line for wind slab hazard before you commit to it.

Problems

Loose Wet

An icon showing Loose Wet

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

1 - 2

Modest air temperature and sunny skies combine to weaken the snow surface. As this occurs, loose wet avalanche activity may result. The highest likelihood of this occurring is during the heat of the day on sun-exposed slopes. Note that the same warming trend also weakens cornices, so best to stay well back from them on ridges and avoid travelling beneath them.

Aspects:

East, South East, South, South West, West.

Elevations:

All elevations.

Valid until: Mar 21st, 2020 5:00PM