Early season snowpack, southern Whitefish Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - Flower Point, Whitefish Range
Whitefish Range - Southern (south of Coal Creek)
Date and time of observation: 
Sun, 11/26/2017 - 13:00
Location Map: 

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

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

Objectives for todays tour: Determine the "state of the snowpack" following the recent warm wet weather along with observing the extent and distribution of the recent wet avalanche cycle. Due to limited access throughout our advisory area the WMR ski area east side uphill route was utilized to reach an upper elevation location (Flower Point).

  • The recent rain event was responsible for a near surface rain crust that was found throughout our tour from 4400' to 6400'. This crust varied in thickness from 4-6 cm at low elevations (Base Lodge) to 20 cm at upper elevation locations. The average hardness of this layer was 1F at all elevations. 
  • This rain event was responsible for the melting of substantial snow at low and mid elevations and creating a moist snowpack at upper elevations.                                                                  
  • Our snowpit was dug on an East aspect at 6400' near the top of Flower Point.                                                                                                                                                                                              A 3cm layer of moist new snow on the surface capped a 20 cm rain crust (1F hard).                                                                                                                                                                                  Bottom of the snowpack had a 35 cm layer of weak (4F hard) moist snow which harbored large grained depth hoar at its base.    
  • Stability test results were inconclusive.                                                                                                                                                      
  • Recent wet loose avalanche activity was noted in upper elevation locations but the amount of slides and associated debris was much less than anticipated. We attribute this to a relatively thin snowpack prior to the rain event and that the snow surface received rain/wet snow 24 hours prior to the start of the substantial storm which effectively pre warmed the snow surface. 



Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Air temperature trend: