Over the last 24 hours, Southwest winds have gusted around 20 miles an hour pushing around the new foot of snow into Northern aspets, creating fresh wind slab avalanche hazard that could break up to 2 feet deep. Wind slabs have been lingering on the Northern half of the compass above 7000 feet. While these older slabs are becoming less touchy, some of these slabs are resting on a variety of old snow surfaces ranging from hard wind board to loose, faceted snow. You are likely to trigger both old and new wind slabs not only at the ridgelines, but in steep terrain below rock faces, in gullies, or other confined terrain where the wind blown snow accumulated.
Over the last week we have toured and traveled into some of the steepest northerly terrain and found wind slab crowns scattered across these slopes. What we also noticed is that most of these slopes that did not run on their own are still untouched by sledders or skiers, and still so no artificial/ human triggers have been applied yet.
Watch out for some of the typical warning signs: rounded, pillowy, sculpted terrain is the norm throughout the northerly terrain.
In the last 24 hours, the mountains have picked up around a foot of new snow, and temperatures have been warmer, just below freezing in Long Valley, and in the upper elevations. The new snow should consoloidate quickly, and bond with the old snow fairly well, except in areas that have been protected from the wind where surface hoar got buried during the storm. Buried surface hoar can linger, and be hard to predict exactly where it remains...good travel protocols and giving avalanche terrain big respect is going to be important today.
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 snd Sargeant's 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)
There is still room in the Sawtooth Avalanche Center's Motorized Level 1 avalanche class in Fairfield this weekend. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up, stop making excuses. This is a great class, reasonably priced with a shortened classroom session and 2 field days jam packed with useful travel, rescue and decision making information.
Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. It's okay if you leave some fields blank, just fill out what you know and/or submit photos. You can also email us at email@example.com.
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.
Yesterday, near Twin Peaks, in an area sheltered from the wind, we were able to find buried surface hoar under 2 inches of new snow in our pit. Buried Surface Hoar is Public Enemy number one in the avalanche world, this fragile layer when buried is responsible for more avalanche accidents and deaths than any other type of problem.
***We now have up to a foot on top of this weak layer!
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Winter Storm Warning until Thursday, January 19, 11:00am
Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Boise ID 324 AM MST Thu Jan 19 2017
Today through Friday...Winter storm which brought significant snow to portions of SE Oregon and SW Idaho, along with areas of freezing rain and sleet, will wind down today. Another round of precipitation moved into the region this morning, with reports of snow and rain, although there may be pockets of freezing rain and/or sleet. A portion of the Treasure Valley from Caldwell to Mountain Home warmed to above freezing and thus any additional precipitation will be rain, possibly mixed with snow at times, today. Little to no additional snow accumulations are expected in this area. The inversion remains locked in the Lower Treasure Valley around Ontario where additional light snow accumulations will occur before tapering off later this morning. The Western Magic Valley will likely see an additional 1-3 inches before tapering off this afternoon. The remainder of the warning and advisory areas will likely see another 1-3 inches as well before ending by late morning or early afternoon. The upper trough will move through tonight accompanied by a chance of snow showers mainly over the higher terrain. The next Pacific trough will spread snow into SE Oregon on Friday. There may be enough snow accumulations to justify a Winter Weather Advisory for Harney County and possibly Malheur County. Winds will increase ahead of the trough, becoming generally Southeast 10 to 20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph east of Boise.
LONG TERM...Friday night through Wednesday...GFS and ECM in very good agreement through Wednesday. Next Pacific storm comes in Friday night and Saturday with several inches more snow throughout the region. Brief clearing Saturday night ahead of another strong Pacific frontal system with valley rain/snow and mountain snow Sunday, followed by more snow showers Sunday night through Monday night as the Pacific upper low also comes in. Clearing and colder Tuesday and Wednesday under dry northerly flow aloft behind the departing upper low. After that a pattern with models showing a strong upper ridge along the coast with drying and warming for our area.
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.