Forecaster Observation - Red Meadow, Northern Whitefish Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - Red Meadow, Northern Whitefish Range
Whitefish Range - Northern (north of Coal Creek)
Date and time of observation: 
Sat, 03/26/2016 - 13:00
Location Map: 

Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Observation made by: Forecaster
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

We toured in the Red Meadow Pass area of the northern Whitefish Range evaluating instabilities within the recent storm snow, wind deposition and surface instabilities related to today's forecast of partly sunny weather.

We found up to 18 inches of recent relatively low density snow deposited 3/23-3/25. 

  • On shaded aspects this snow bonded well to the denser layer of snow beneath it.
  • On sunny aspects this snow was not bonding well to the 3/20 crust that it sat on top of. 
  • The surface snow gained substantial density today due to warming and brief solar input
  • Despite limited sunshine, numerous natural rollerballs and pinwheels occurred on sunny aspects. At and below treeline many of these were the result of tree bombs.
  • During our descent we produced numerous rollerballs and pinwheels

Our snowpit on a north aspect at 6500 feet revealed:

  • A snow depth of 370 cm
  • A graupel layer 4 inches from the surface
  • The 3/20 melt freeze crust 18 inches from the surface
  • The 3/13 rain crust was 30 inches from the surface and was capped by a thin layer of facets
  • The 3/6 rain crust was 40 inches from the surface and was unreactive in stability tests 

Stability test results:

  • No propagation occurred in our ECT tests
  • During compression tests we did have easy failure (CT 6) in the graupel layer
  • We had failure with hard force in the facets above the 3/13 crust during compression tests

We noted glide cracks on east - south aspects including one with a linear length estimated at 250 feet

Extensive cornice development was observed and was ongoing. 

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light (Twigs in motion)
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: