MISSOULA – City officials have issued an avalanche warning for the Rattlesnake area.
An Urban Avalanche Warning has been issued for Mount Jumbo. which has been closed to all activities. Residents must stay off the mountain to reduce human-triggered avalanches.
The City of Missoula held a press conference Thursday afternoon to provide the latest information.
Dangerous avalanche conditions exist on Mount Jumbo, according to a news release. City officials note that contracted avalanche danger assessment experts are on Mount Jumbo assessing the conditions.
People may see them — or their tracks — on the mountain. City of Missoula spokeswoman Ginny Merriam adds that people should be aware of this before reporting that people are violating the closure.
A neighbor reported seeing a snow slide above Missoula International School on Thursday morning.
The neighbor notified the school and MIS officials told MTN News that they called the Western Mountain Avalanche Center to assess the slide.
It should be noted that the slide occurred at the very top of Mount Jumbo and not near the school. But as a precaution, students and staff were moved inside and will remain inside until the end of the school day.
Notices were also sent to parents about the situation. No students or staff were evacuated from MIS, but the previously scheduled girls basketball game for Thursday night has been canceled at MIS due to the avalanche warning.
People are being told to stay off the mountain to help minimize the chance of triggering avalanches. People violating the closure can be ticketed, and they risk causing an event that harms people and their homes.
The Missoula County Office of Emergency has issued an urban avalanche warning by cell and land-line phones to residents living at the base of Mount Jumbo on the Rattlesnake and East Missoula sides.
Residents should be alert and should report people violating the closure to 911 immediately.
The conditions are very similar to conditions present at the time of the 2014 avalanche and could worsen with the forecasted continued snow, winds and frigid temperatures.
That avalanche happened five years ago on this date, roaring into a Rattlesnake neighborhood claiming one life.