Avalanche Warning for March 6, 2014

BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE WARNING is in effect for West Central Montana.

This includes the Bitterroot mountains from Lost Trail Pass to Hoodoo Pass, the Rattlesnake mountains north of Missoula and the southern Swan and Mission Mountains on Lolo National Forest Lands near Seeley Lake, MT.

The avalanche danger is HIGH. Dangerous avalanche conditions exist.  Natural avalanches are likely, human triggered avalanches are very likely. Terrain 30 degrees and steeper is capable of  natural avalanching. Avalanche paths and runout zone should be avoided.

Good morning.  This is Dudley Improta with this special statement from the West Central Montana Avalanche Center.  This information is the responsibility of the Forest Service and does not apply to operating ski areas. The avalanche danger rating expires at midnight tonight (March 6). I will issue the regularly scheduled avalanche advisory tomorrow morning.

Weather and Snowpack Analysis

Heavy, wet snow has loaded steep slopes in the area. High elevation winds are gusting above 50mph. Snotels are showing 1 to 1.7 inches of accumulated snow water over the last 24 hours.

The snowpack will be unstable today. Natural avalanches are likely. Travel in the backcountry will be difficult, as well as possibly dangerous, with the heavy snow. Rain may fall above 6000 feet. The immediate effect of the rain will destabilize the snowpack.

The area is under a winter weather advisory.

Weather Forecast and Avalanche Outlook

Moderate to heavy rain and, in the higher elevations, snow is expected to continue through this morning. Snow levels may lower today. Tonite, snow levels should drop  back to 4000 feet and allow more accumulation in the mountains. Drier air may work its way into the area on Friday.

If I elected to venture out today; I  would  avoid steep  slopes.

If you would like to send us snow observations; you can use our public observations form on the internet or send us a quick e-mail at  [email protected] .

Ski and ride safe.

I will issue the regular advisory tomorrow morning Friday, March 7.