Avalanche warning issued for Idaho Panhandle

Feb. 28—A winter storm bringing heavy snow and strong winds has prompted forecasters to issue an avalanche warning for the mountains of North Idaho and far northwestern Montana.

The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center issued the warning Wednesday morning, writing that dense slabs of snow are expected to form on crust layers and create reactive conditions through Friday.

High avalanche danger is predicted across the center's forecast area, which includes the Silver Valley, the Selkirk, Purcell and Cabinet mountain ranges.

The warning advises backcountry skiers and snowmobilers to avoid avalanche terrain, which is considered slopes steeper than 30 degrees. It says human triggered avalanches are "very likely" in steep terrain.

The warning began at 9 a.m. Wednesday and expires at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Snow in the forecast area began Tuesday night and is expected to bring heavy snow to high elevations through Friday morning.

National Weather Service forecasts call for snow through the weekend and into next week in North Idaho. For Bonners Ferry, the Thursday forecast included winds stronger than 30 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph.