Outdoors blog

Avalanche advisory: now is safer than later

Summit of Scotchman Peak northeast of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. (Jake Ostman )
Summit of Scotchman Peak northeast of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. (Jake Ostman )

WINTER SPORTS -- The Inland Northwest avalanche advisory issued this morning notes that snow that accumulated in the cold temperatures of recent storm is light enough to warrant only "considerable" avalanche danger in many (not all) areas.  But a change is expected around Sunday.

The coldest snow temperatues recorded this morning at the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center was -18F at Hidden Lake in the northern Selkirks.  

"This cold weather is weakening the entire pack but most significantly in the upper 3 feet where we have some weak layers around crusts and changing density storm snow," said Kevin Davis, center director.  "Luckily, for now the load from the new snow this week is light and it is not adding alot of stress to these weak layers.  It is most unstable where wind-loaded or hardened by wind.  The situation will change on Sunday when we get rising temperatures and more snow, and this will bury another layer of surface hoar.  Enjoy it now, bundle up, and be safe."

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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