Yesterday new wind slabs built rapidly throughout the day. Rapid loading was occurring on leeward slopes and the lee side of even small terrain features around the compass. These slabs are resting on a variety of old snow surfaces: sun and heat crusts, old wind slabs, wind board, light density snow, and in the northerly terrain weaker faceted snow(the persistent weak layers we have been tracking). Cracking was widespread in wind affected terrain as these features were forming yesterday and additional snow and wind last night and through the next few days will add to the likelihood of both natural and human triggered avalanches. These avalanches have the potential to step down into older wind slabs or deeper buried weak layers creating a large avalanche. Rapid cornice formation was also occurring on ridgetops avoid travel on or under cornices as the possibility of cornice collapses will be high today as well. Use good travel practices, avoid steeper slopes today and keep your eyes on your partners. Stick to low angle meadows and basins if you are snowmobiling and head to the resort if you are skiing, today is not the day to roll the dice on steep terrain.
Warm snow over cold snow is piling up right now. Some upper elevations have already passed the 12 inch mark. Heavy snowfall is forecasted to continue throughout the day today and will add depth and weight and likely overload the strength of the cold snow below. Slopes over about 30 degress that don't slide on their own will be primed for a human trigger today. Stick to lower angle terrain and pay attention to slopes above and around you. If released, there is a possibility that they could step down into weak layers buried deeper in the snowpack. A Winter Storm Warning and Avalanche Warning are in effect through tomorrow afternoon with the potential for upwards of 20 inches of new snow in the upper elevations.
Rain is possible at elevations above 6000 feet today and tomorrow. Rain on snow can quickly produce natural loose snow avalanches in steep terrain especially in the lower elevations that have a significant snowpack right now. These avalanches will likely be found near local roads, in river canyons and in areas we don't normally worry about avalanches.
The Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center (FPAC) needs YOU! We are in desperate need of more user support and financial assistance. The avalanche forecast is not a guaranteed service, and is in jeopardy of dwindling down to only a couple of days a week in the near future. Please help if you can by clicking the DONATE tab above. If you value this life saving information, make a donation or help the FPAC in raising funds for the future.
Snowmobiler/Snowbiker Travel Restrictions: a quick reminder that the Granite Mountain Area Closure is now in effect. In addition there are other areas on the Payette National Forest that are CLOSED to snowmobile traffic including Jughandle Mt east of Jug Meadows, Lick Creek/Lake Fork Drainage (on the right side of the road as you are traveling up canyon), and the area north of Brundage Mt Ski area to junction "V" and along the east side of Brundage and Sergeants' Mts. with the exception of the Lookout Rd( junction "S"). Please respect these closures and other users recreating in them. Winter Travel Map(East side). You can download the map to the AVENZA app on your phone, and know your exact location while you are out riding.
FOUND on Goose Lake Road Wednesday near Brundage Reservoir- prescription glasses in case. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if these look familiar.
Yesterday was just the beginning of a multi day wind and snow event that has elevated the avalanche danger. We watched wind slabs growing and rapid loading occurring on almost all the terrain we traveled through on Granite Mountain. In addition the snow surface got progressively more cakey and thick in wind affected terrain(see ski photo below). Cracking and ski induced failures of small wind slabs on our tour were widespread. The wind was gusting into the 30 mph range and easily transporting the new snow. We found several persistent grain types in the snowpack on different aspects as well. While it is unlikely, this storm could be the formula to unleash some of our persistent weak layer problems.
Powder turns on skis and sleds were deep in protected terrain and we found great riding conditions in the lower angle terrain. If you are using the Goose Lake Road be aware that there are some inconsistencies in the groomed trail and reduce your speed to allow for some surprising features. We aren't sure what the problem is but the Valley Country groomer and the Brundage Snowcats are working on smoothing the trail out.
The cornices were also growing rapidly through the day as you can see in the photos below.
|0600 temperature:||24 deg. F.|
|Max. temperature in the last 24 hours:||26 deg. F.|
|Average wind direction during the last 24 hours:||South|
|Average wind speed during the last 24 hours:||8-12 mph|
|Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours:||33 mph|
|New snowfall in the last 24 hours:||NA inches|
|Total snow depth:||NA inches|
This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains between Hard Butte on the north and Council Mountain on the south. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.