(MISSOULA)- More snow, and more wet weather is keeping the avalanche danger high across Montana’s mountains again this weekend as a combination of fresh, wet snow and wind is keeping conditions tricky.
The West Central Montana Avalanche Center says heavy, wet snow over the past couple of days, coupled with rain falling on snow has created a “considerable” avalanche danger above 5000’. The center says areas along the Montana-Idaho border along the Bitterroot Divide received as much as 12-to-18” of snow this past week, with 4-to-6” of snow in areas like the Southern Mission Mountains, the Sapphires and the Rattlesnake.
Friday, rain was falling as high as 7000’ feet, although a cold front pushed snow down lower Saturday morning. The center says there’s a chance for slides as the snow has become saturated, with frost from melting and winds also combining to make steeper slopes unstable.
In Northwest Montana, the Glacier Avalanche Center says the avalanche danger is also “considerable” between 5,500’ and 7,500’ on steep, open slopes. The avalanche danger in places like the Whitefish Range, Kootenai-Cabinets, the Livingston Range and the Bob Marshall expect to gradually improve Sunday into Monday.
The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center says rapidly changing conditions have also impacted the mountains in Southwest Montana, with a “considerable” avalanche danger in all areas. Forecasters say that could rise to “high” avalanche danger depending on wind and rain conditions through Saturday.
The GNFAC says there was already a large natural “wet snow” avalanche on Lionhead Friday that ripped trees out by the roots. But fortunately no one was hurt.