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Avalanche hazard could soar with storm

Unstable snowpack conditions could become more dangerous if forecasted snow and wind move into the Inland Northwest as predicted.

Some of the season’s most unstable snowpack conditions are turning up in the Inland Northwest mountains just as the region’s avalanche forecasters are preparing to move on to other tasks.

“What a way to end the forecasting season,” Kevin Davis, hydrologic technician at the Idaho Panhandle National Forest Avalanche Center in Sandpoint said Friday.

Snowpack evaluations in the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains on Thursday “indicated we’re dealing with a problem snowpack right now,” he said.

The St. Regis Basin had “considerable” avalanche danger on steep wind-loaded slopes, he said.

“The big storm coming in this afternoon could lead to more natural avalanches, especially on wind-loaded aspects.”

Some areas rated as having moderate avalanche danger on Thursday could soar to high avalanche danger if the snow and wind develop as forecast, he said.

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