Avalanche Warning January 29, 2014

An AVALANCHE WARNING is in effect for the mountains of west central Montana.  The avalanche danger is HIGH.  Dangerous avalanche conditions exist on terrain steeper than 30 degrees above 5000 feet.  Heavy snowfall and high winds have created conditions where natural avalanches are likely and human-triggered avalanches very likely.  Travel on or underneath avalanche terrain is not recommended.

This is Dudley Improta with this special avalanche information update for January 29, 2014.  This avalanche warning expires in 12 hours and does not apply to operating ski areas.  The winter storm we are currently experiencing is predicted to last through tomorrow.  

Weather and Snowpack Analysis

This afternoon the Point 6 weather station is recording westerly mountain winds with gusts in excess of 50mph . Remote weather stations are reporting up to 10 inches of snow since this morning, with nearly 1.5 inches of snow water equivalent. This is a very heavy load on top of the weak snow surface created by the recent, extended high pressure system. More snow is forecast through Thursday.

We are currently under a winter storm warning issued by the Weather Service.  This storm is expected to last through tomorrow (Thursday).

Weather Forecast and Avalanche Outlook

Yesterday, in the advisory, I noted we’re all powder starved; but the avalanche danger has increased.  It would be prudent to let things settle out before easing into any steep terrain. Observers will be in the mountains tomorrow (Thursday), gathering information for the regular Friday advisory.

Avalanche Classes

The University and missoulaavalanche are also offering two Level 1 classes in the Bitterroot.One class is scheduled to begin February 6 the second class begins February 27.

If you have time, we’d appreciate hearing from you. You can send us a report on avalanche or snow conditions by using our public observations form or sending us a quick note at [email protected] .

The next regular advisory will be posted January 31.