With new snow and winds 15-25 mph (possibly increasing to 25-35) out of the south-southwest, expect to see new wind slabs this morning and throughout the day ranging from soft and touchy to hard and stubborn on leeward aspects above 7,000 feet. Older harder wind slabs can also be found on these aspects below the new wind slabs. The older hard slabs are sitting on an 'upside down' snowpack in some areas due to low density snow that has had heavier snow fall on top of it, all of which is sitting on a buried crust (less than ideal). The combination of these different layers will make travel in areas above 7,000 feet on leeward aspects dangerous, evaluate the snowpack carefully before committing to any lines today or better yet keep off of windloaded/leeward slopes until the snowpack has had time to adjust to the stress of the new snow and wind. Cracking, 'whoomping', hollow/drum like snow, sculpted snow surface, pillows, and scouring are all signs of wind moving snow around and terrain choices should be made appropriately. Also, keep in mind with winds as forecasted, that slabs could be and will be building mid-slope. These are especially dangerous due to the fact that you will be in the middle of your ski line or hill climb before you realize what you have gotten yourself into.
If the snow today comes without wind we could see storm slabs develop. However, the chances of today not being windy are slim. Due keep storm slabs in mind today if there is a lack of wind and/or the snow that is falling becomes denser than the snow it is sitting on...'upside down' as it is often referred to.
Thanks to all the disabled veterans and volunteers that braved the less than ideal conditions yesterday for the annual Disabled Veterans Fun Run Snowmobile Ride. The PAC was honored to be invited to speak to the group about avalanche safety before the group headed out towards Burgdorf for a day of snowmobiling. Hats off to all the veterans and the volunteers who made this annual event a success!
Yesterday was another wet and grey day. Light snow started late in the afternoon at and cold temps overnight helped to start stabilizing our wet snowpack below 7,000 feet. We had no new reports of human or natural triggered avalanches, this does not mean that the snowpack could not avalanche. Density changes and crusts are cause for concern in isolated areas throughout the advisory area. This combined with the current storm that is impacting the area could cause for the avalanche danger to ramp up quickly today if wind and snow exceed current forecast.
The mountains around McCall picked up 2-4 inches of new snow overnight, with winds out of the south in the teens and gusting into the 20's. Today we are forecasted to receive another 2-6 inches with winds out of the south-southwest 15-25 mph and increasing to 25-35 this afternoon with gusts into the 40's. The brunt of this storm will impact our area later today and into tonight, with precipitation totals in the next 24 hours bringing another 8-14 inches of new snow to the mountains.
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.