Lizard Range and Flathead Avalanche Forecast
Jan 13th, 2020 4:00PM
If you're braving the cold on Tuesday, be especially cautious in areas where wind has redistributed new snow into deeper and more reactive slabs.
Monday night: Mainly cloudy with scattered flurries bringing about 5 cm of new snow. Light to moderate southwest winds. Alpine low temperatures to about -30 C.
Tuesday: Mainly cloudy with scattered flurries bringing about 5 cm of new snow. Light to moderate southwest winds. Alpine temperatures around -24 C.
Wednesday: Clearing. Light to moderate southwest winds. Alpine temperatures around -20 C.
Thursday: Mostly cloudy with scattered flurries bringing 5-10 cm of new snow. Light to moderate southwest winds. Alpine temperatures around -18 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). This trend continued Sunday, illustrated by these MIN reports describing natural storm slab avalanche activity including a cornice triggered size 2 storm slab. Monday saw explosive and skier controlled storm slab avalanches up to size 1.5.
Looking forward, a continuing supply of low density snow and elevated winds are expected to maintain active avalanche conditions. Avalanche danger is expected to continue to be particularly heightened in exposed areas where wind redistributes new snow into deeper and more reactive slabs.
Storm totals since last week are now over 1 m. This recent snow is reportedly settling rapidly, with surface instabilities generally limited to the most recent accumulations, especially where winds have redistributed snow into reactive slabs in leeward features.
Several crusts 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.
- Choose low-angled, sheltered terrain where new snow hasn't been wind-affected.
- Watch for signs of instability like whumpfing, hollow sounds, shooting cracks or recent avalanches.
- Be aware of the potential for loose avalanches in steep terrain where snow hasn't formed a slab.
Valid until: Jan 14th, 2020 5:00PM