Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Uintas Area Mountains Issued by Craig Gordon for Sunday - December 21, 2014 - 5:57am
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It will be a day of rising avalanche danger

In the wind zone at and above treeline the avalanche danger will rise to HIGH as the day progresses and storm gets under way. Both human triggered and natural avalanches are likely especially on steep, wind drifted slopes.

A CONSIDERABLE danger is found on mid elevation, wind drifted slopes and human triggered avalanches are probable.

Looking for LOW avalanche danger? Let the snow stack up a bit and head to low elevation south facing slopes that have no preexisting weak snow issues.




avalanche warning

THIS AVALANCHE WARNING IS FOR THE WASATCH...BEAR RIVER AND WESTERN UINTA MOUNTAIN RANGES...THE WASATCH PLATEAU AND THE CENTRAL UTAH MOUNTAINS. A WARM WINTER STORM WITH HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS WILL MAKE AVALANCHE CONDITIONS INCREASINGLY DANGEROUS THROUGH MONDAY. HUMAN TRIGGERED AND NATURAL AVALANCHES WILL BE LIKELY TODAY THROUGH MONDAY ON STEEP TERRAIN ABOVE 8000 FEET. RAIN BELOW 8000 FEET MAY PRODUCE UNSTABLE AVALANCHE CONDITIONS AT LOWER ELEVATIONS AS WELL. PEOPLE SHOULD AVOID BEING ON OR BELOW ANY STEEP SNOW COVERED SLOPES UNTIL AVALANCHE CONDITIONS IMPROVE.

special announcement

Huge thanks to Sam T Evans and Look Trailers for generously donating a loaner two place sled trailer for the 2014-15 season.... y'all rock!

We just released an exciting, new avy safety video designed specifically for snowmobilers - Knowledge is Powder. https://vimeo.com/113677686

NEW THIS YEAR: You can now receive advisories by email for each region in the state. Go here for details.

current conditions

The big Pacific storm is finally here and it's beginning to snow. West and southwest winds began increasing around midnight and currently they're blowing 25-35 mph along the high peaks. While average snow depths throughout the range remain relatively shallow, surprisingly good riding and turning conditions are found on a mostly supportable base, especially on low angle meadows and rock free slopes.

recent activity

The surface snow is very weak. This sluff from Friday clearly indicates it's not going to take much wind and snow for the range to experience an active avalanche cycle.

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

We've been treated to relatively benign avalanche conditions this season and a fairly predictable snowpack... that's all about to come to a screeching halt. The big weekend storm is definitely gonna be a game changer. Heavy snow, strong winds, and rising temperatures will add up to dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry. As the storm develops and winds begin to ramp up, the avalanche danger will rise rather quickly. This mornings shallow drifts will become this afternoons unmanageable avalanche and slides will begin breaking deeper and wider than you might expect. In addition, today's avalanches can be triggered from a distance and on relatively low angle terrain. Once initiated, they're gonna be packing a punch and can easily ruin your day. It doesn't mean you can't ride.... it does mean you're gonna have to be on your A Game today. Look for and avoid any steep wind drifted slope, especially if the snow looks fat and rounded or sounds hollow like a drum.

Whoomphing sounds or shooting cracks in front of your skis, board, or sled are huge clues to unstable snow.

Avalanche Problem 2
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

While not widespread, any avalanche triggered today has the potential to break into weak layers buried deeper in the snowpack. Of course, that would result in a large and dangerous avalanche. Our usual problem child, steep, rocky slopes with a weak shallow snowpack would be likely suspect terrain.

weather

The strong, moist northwest flow has arrived and will persist into tonight with rising snow levels. Today we can expect heavy snow, west and northwest winds gusting to 50 mph along the ridges, and temperatures rising into the low 30's. A cold front crosses northern Utah late tonight. Snow levels will fall again and snow will turn showery Monday and gradually taper off. Very strong winds will develop over the ridges today and nuke through Monday.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submitting snow and avalanche conditions.   You can call me directly at 801-231-2170, email craig@utahavalanchecenter.org, or email by clicking HERE

This is a great time of year to schedule a free avalanche awareness presentation for your group or club. You can contact me at 801-231-2170 or email craig@utahavalanchecenter.org

Donate to your favorite non-profit –The Utah Avalanche Center. The UAC depends on contributions from users like you to support our work.

Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you buy or sell on ebay - set the Utah Avalanche Center as a favorite non-profit in your ebay account here and click on ebay gives when you buy or sell.  You can choose to have your seller fees donated to the UAC, which doesn't cost you a penny.

Utah Avalanche Center mobile app - Get your advisory on your iPhone along with great navigation and rescue tools.

The information in this advisory is from the US Forest Service which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

I will update this advisory by 7:00 AM Monday Dec. 22, 2014.