Jan 30, 2014 @ 6:10 am

Avalanche Warning January 30, 2014

We are continuing the AVALANCHE WARNING 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.

Good morning, this is Dudley Improta with an avalanche information update for January 30, 2014.  This avalanche warning expires in 12 hours and does not apply to operating ski areas.  West Central Montana is under a winter storm warning until 11pm this evening. 

Weather and Snowpack Analysis

Mountain winds are out of the west and southwest this morning . The high winds from yesterday tapered off a bit, but still blew hard enough overnight to move snow onto leeward slopes. Remote weather staions are reporting 14 to 18 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours with more snow predicted today. Snow water equivalent over the last 24 hours is ranging from 1.4 to 2 inches. This is more loading on top of the weak snow surface created by the recent, extended high pressure system.

This video, we posted last week on January 23,  explains the weak  surface the new snow is being deposited on.

Weather Forecast and Avalanche Outlook

Another 7 to 9 inches of snow is expected today; with possible light snow into Friday morning. Observers will be in the mountains today, gathering information for the regular Friday advisory.

We haven’t had fresh powder for some time. It would be a good idea to let things settle before recreating on steep slopes.

I will issue the regular advisory tomorrow mornining.

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] .



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.