GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Fri Mar 19, 2021

Not the Current Forecast

Good Morning. This is Ian Hoyer with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Friday, March 19th at 7:00 a.m. Today’s forecast is sponsored by Advanced Innovation and Suzy Hahn: Montana Mountain Real Estate Cooke City. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

Skies are clear this morning with mountain temperatures around freezing. Winds are 10-15 mph out of the south and west, with gusts of 20-35 mph. Breezy winds will continue as skies cloud up today. Precipitation will start this afternoon or evening. With high temperatures in the 30s F, we may see some rain before switching over to snow this evening. By tomorrow morning, 4-8” of snow will fall around West Yellowstone, with a trace to 3” around Bozeman, Big Sky, and Cooke City. 

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

All Regions

Today is a day of transition between the warm, dry conditions of the last two weeks and the unsettled weather that is setting in for the next week (video outlining concerns with this transition).  

Increasing clouds and strong winds will likely keep wet snow and wet avalanches in check today. Avalanches are unlikely while the snow surface is frozen. However, be wary if skies stay clear and sunny into the afternoon or it starts to rain. 

A couple extra hours of sunshine would push the snowpack from crusty and refrozen to wet and gloppy with the possibility of wet slides. If the snow surface is wet more than a few inches deep on sunny slopes, move to shadier or lower angled slopes. There will probably only be a sprinkle of rain (if any), before precipitation switches over to snow this afternoon. But if it really starts to rain, the avalanche hazard will rapidly increase, particularly on shady slopes which have remained dry up to now. 

With the snow surface expected to remain mostly frozen, avalanches are unlikely and the avalanche danger is LOW today. If it remains sunny into the mid-afternoon or rains, the avalanche danger will rise to MODERATE on slopes with wet snow.

Snow overnight will bring a whole different set of concerns tomorrow, so be sure to check the forecast tomorrow morning if you’re getting out this weekend.

If you get out, please send us your observations no matter how brief. You can submit them via our website, email (, phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).


Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events

See our education calendar for an up-to-date list of all local classes. Here are a few select upcoming events and opportunities to check out:

TOMORROW! March 20, 5:30 p.m., Snowpack Update for Bozeman Splitfest, online Link to Join HERE

March 24, 6 p.m., Free 1-Hour Avalanche Awareness, online Link to Join HERE

March 29, 6 p.m., Free 1-Hour Avalanche Awareness, online Link to Join HERE


The Last Word

Bears. Grizzly bears. They are waking up, stretching their limbs and looking for food. Walking the aisles in Safeway puts you on top of the food chain; when you are in the backcountry, they are. Carry a beacon, shovel, probe...and bear spray. Bozeman Daily Chronicle article.

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