Dangerous avalanche conditions expected this weekend

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This Flathead Avalanche Center photo shows recent deep-slab avalanche activity.

The Flathead Avalanche Center warned Thursday that avalanche danger will rise to high by Friday or Saturday in areas that include the Swan Range, the Whitefish Range, the Flathead Range and Glacier National Park.

The center reported that “very dangerous avalanche conditions are expected to develop into the weekend” and noted that travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

The center said forecasts suggest that “continuous snowfall with increasing winds will overload a very fragile snow surface, causing widespread natural avalanche activity.”

Up to 2 feet of new snow could accumulate in the mountains of Northwest Montana through Sunday.

“The current surface is littered with weak layers and slick crusts that will bond poorly with arriving snow,” Flathead Avalanche Center director Zach Guy stated in Thursdays advisory.

“Conditions will quickly become dangerous overnight as the storm cranks on and new snow becomes thicker and slabbier.”

The avalanche watch is in effect until about 8 p.m. Saturday.

The U.S. Forest Service avalanche centers are operating during the partial government shutdown “because of the critical public safety information they provide,” the center said.

For more information, go to: www.flatheadavalanche.org.

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