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Avalanche Experts Warn of High Danger Across Northwest Montana
The Flathead Avalanche Center released a special advisory Thursday
Courtesy photo
Avalanche conditions have worsened in recent days and pose high danger in the backcountry and along U.S. Highway 2, according to local experts.

The Flathead Avalanche Center released a special advisory Thursday, Feb. 13, warning about backcountry travel in the Whitefish, Swan and Flathead ranges and portions of Glacier National Park.

New snow, mild temperatures and strong winds have created highly unstable conditions, according to Todd Hannan with the FAC. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended until conditions improve.

Local transportation officials are urging drivers to not stop alongside the highway near West Glacier, Essex or Marias Pass because of high avalanche danger.

BNSF avalanche observers reported several natural avalanches in the John F. Stevens Canyon yesterday, occurring on both sides of the canyon. Reported avalanches were up to size 2 on the destructive scale, meaning they were large enough to bury and injure a human, according to Hannan.

The avalanche danger is rated high on all slopes in the advisory area. The local ranges have received 2-9 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and temperatures have rose considerably since last week’s subzero weather system. Winds are gusting from 10-25 miles-per-hour up to 40 mph in some areas.

Six people have been killed and two injured in avalanches across the West in the past week.
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