WHITEFISH — Conditions are right for avalanches in western Montana and while warnings haven't been issued in northwest Montana, the experts at the Flathead Avalanche Center say conditions are still dangerous in the backcountry.
“Today and yesterday we had avalanche danger rated considerable which means dangerous avalanche conditions, and I would expect those conditions to prevail for some time now as we continue to get more snow and more snow on top of these weak layers,” Flathead Avalanche Center Director Zach Guy said.
He added that the recent snowstorm that hit the area on New Year’s Eve has made for dangerous conditions in Flathead backcountry and with more snow in the forecast, Guy says the exponential scale may rise to high in the coming days.
“Right now, it’s at level three out of five -- considerable danger. Which again, it’s an exponential scale, so considerable means it dangerous out there and human triggered avalanches are likely and natural avalanches are possible,” Guy explained.
Backcountry areas are popular in Montana, and following the deaths of two people in a Wednesday avalanche near Seeley Lake, Guy is advising those who venture into the backcountry to always be prepared.
“Basic avalanche rescue gear, which includes an avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel and those help your partners find you if you are buried underneath an avalanche," Guy told MTN News.
He noted that with more snow in the extended forecast, conditions are expected to remain dangerous for the foreseeable future.
“Into this next week, we’re continuing to get more snowfall, those weak layers aren’t healing quickly so we’re expecting dangerous avalanche conditions to persist for some time,” Guy said.
Click here to learn more about the latest avalanche conditions from the Flathead Avalanche Center.