Category Archives: Snow Conditions

Glacier Park to start plowing; Camas Road is first

Rotary snowplow at work - Glacier NP photo
Rotary snowplow at work – Glacier NP photo

Glacier Park will fire up the snowplows on April 1, with the Camas Road being first in line for attention on the west side.

Since they will likely be able to plow it with a push broom this year, Camas Road should be open in very short order.

To monitor road status:

To see where the plows are:

Going-to-the-Sun Road now open as far as Avalanche

According to Glacier Park’s road status page, Going-to-the-Sun Road is now open to general traffic as far as Avalanche Campground on the west side and to Rising Sun from the east.

Here’s the official write-up:

Currently 21.0 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.

Visitors can drive 15.5 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche, and 5.5 miles from the St. Mary Entrance to Rising Sun.

The section of the road between Avalanche and Rising Sun is closed due to plowing. On the West Side, Hiker/Biker access is to Packers Roost, approximately 6 miles from the Avalanche Gate – while the road crew is working. On the weekends, there are no restrictions. On the East Side Hiker/Biker access is to Jackson Glacier Overlook, approximately 8 miles from the Rising Sun Gate – while the road crew is working. On the weekends there are no restrictions.

Montana snowpack increased through March

Montana snowpack is about average most places and continued to accumulate throughout March . . .

There may not be gold in them thar’ hills, but there’s snow.

In fact, even as we creep into spring, the statewide snowpack increased for the third month in a row in March, adding as much as 24 percent to February totals in areas of western Montana.

But don’t go filling sandbags, says Brian Domonkos, water supply specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Snowpack is really not a driving factor for high stream flows,” says Domonkos, whose agency released its March numbers Friday. “Weather is the driving factor. If we have a cool, dry spring, flooding is not so likely.“

Continue reading . . .

Warmer temps expected to increase avalanche danger

From today’s Flathead Beacon . . .

Avalanche danger remains considerable in Northwest Montana and could worsen with expected high temperatures this weekend, according to the latest backcountry avalanche advisory issued Friday by the U.S. Forest Service.

Following the arrival of moist, heavy snowfall this week, backcountry recreationists should take precaution at elevations above 5,500 feet and on steep, open slopes and gullies, avalanche specialist Stan Bones said in the advisory. Areas that have received new snow and rain have an increased danger, he said.

Bones described current conditions as “fairly complex,” and warned backcountry users to be alert about potential rapid changes in weather and snow conditions.

Continue reading . . .

Low snow totals in the valley, about average higher up

Snow amounts down-valley this winter were considerably lower than average, but higher elevations did OK overall . . .

Spring officially got under way Tuesday, ending one of the Flathead Valley’s mildest winters in recent memory.

From Oct. 1 through March 20, just 30.2 inches of snowfall had been measured at Glacier Park International Airport. That’s almost 26 inches less than the average of 55.8 inches for the same period. Precipitation, however, totaled 6.19 inches at the airport, not far off the average of 6.97 inches.

Mountain snowfall above the Flathead River Basin was quite different than in the valley, starting out well behind the average but eventually catching up to be 103 percent of normal.

Continue reading . . .

Montana snowpack just about back to normal levels

Not exactly startling news, but it’s nice to have official word that high country snow levels are just about back to normal . . .

After a slow start in the last months of 2011, Montana’s snowpack has mostly caught up to historical averages around the state.

The month of February dealt above average snow for the second consecutive month, while increasing snowpack in all major basins, according to snowpack data released this week by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Statewide, snowpack was at 95 percent of average as of March 1. As of Feb. 1, snowpack was at 90 percent of average.

Continue reading . . .

Special backcountry avalanche warning issued for Northwest Montana

Skiing or snowmobiling in the backcountry is risky business right now . . .

A special backcountry avalanche warning was issued Sunday for the mountains of Northwest Montana.

Avalanche danger is “high” for areas between 4,500 feet and 7,500 feet, according to Flathead National Forest avalanche expert Stan Bones.

Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended, according to the advisory. The warning applies to the Mission, Swan, Flathead, Lewis and Continental Divide mountain ranges.

Continue reading . . .

More reading: avalanche advisory at the Flathead National Forest web site.