Mar 14, 2017 @ 5:17 pm

An avalanche warning is in effect for the northern portion of the West Central Montana backcountry.  The current avalanche danger is HIGH.  Very dangerous avalanche conditions are present.  Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended today.  Human triggered avalanches are very likely, and natural avalanches are likely.

This is Logan King with an avalanche warning for March 14, 2017.  This avalanche warning will expire at 6:00 pm on March 15, 2017.  The warning will be extended or terminated at that time.

This danger rating does not apply to operating ski areas and is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service.

Weather and Snowpack

Mountain temperatures this afternoon range from 39 to 44 degrees. Widespread rain is impacting the region with .8-1.6 inches of water being added to the snowpack today. Rain is falling to around 8,000 feet this afternoon and looks to persist through the night. With a significant new load of water avalanche conditions will continue to deteriorate.

The avalanche warning is in effect due to wet slabs being likely up to 8,000 feet. The northern portion of the advisory area has seen the majority of the rain today and the concern is from the central Bitterroot to the Southern Swan and Southern Mission ranges including the Rattlesnake. Dangerous avalanche conditions exist and travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. With so much rain on snow the snow will need time to adjust to the new load.

Avalanche and Weather Outlook

Rain is expected to impact the region through Wednesday and avalanche danger will continue to increase as more water is added to the snowpack.

The next regular scheduled advisory will be issued Thursday, the 16th.

Ski and ride safe.


Problem 1 - Wet Slabs

  • TYPE


    Wet Slabs

    Release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) that is generally moist or wet when the flow of liquid water weakens the bond between the slab and the surface below (snow or ground). They often occur during prolonged warming events and/or rain-on-snow events. Wet slabs can be very destructive.

  • SIZE


    1-2 (Small-Large)

    The potential size of avalanche resulting from this problem.



    Likely/Very Likely

    The likelihood of an avalanche resulting from this problem.

Wet slabs are likely in rain affected areas.


  • Danger Trend


    Increasing Danger

  • Area Forecast


Rain up to around 8,000 feet through Wednesday night.

This information is the sole responsibility of the Forest Service and does not apply to operating ski areas. The avalanche danger rating expires at midnight tonight but the information can help you make a more informed decision regarding travel in avalanche terrain for the next few days.

Our advisory area includes National Forest System lands in the Bitterroot Mountains from Lost Trail Pass north to Granite Pass, the Rattlesnake Mountains north of Missoula and the Southern Swan and Mission Mountains near Seeley Lake, MT. Avalanche information for the Lookout Pass/St. Regis Basin area is available from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.