Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Moab Area Mountains Issued by Eric Trenbeath for Friday - January 20, 2017 - 6:38am
bottom line

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE today in upper elevation, wind exposed terrain that faces N-NE-E. A stormy pattern is in store with significant snow in the forecast through the weekend. Be alert to changing conditions and watch for signs of instability such as cracking in the snow surface and avoid step slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. Stay out from under large avalanche paths where even shallow, loose snow sluffs can entrain lots of snow. Out of the wind zone, the avalanche danger is MODERATE.




special announcement

Road Conditions: Grand County has no plans to plow today so expect a snowy approach. 4wd will be required.

Backcountry 101 Avalanche Class

We will be offering a Backcountry 101 avalanche class on Feb 3, 4. This course will include a night classroom session and a day in the field. Cost is $125 with proceeds to benefit the Utah Avalanche Center Moab. For more information or to sign up go here.

current conditions

The first, and weakest, in a series of storm systems brought us a good dose of low density powder snow yesterday evening. 6" of new snow with .5" of water has fallen at the Geyser Pass Trailhead, with Gold Basin reporting 8". We could have up to a foot of new snow at higher elevations. Southerly ridge top winds yesterday morning blew in the 25-30 mph range with gusts to 40, but they tapered off once snow began to fall. They've been averaging 10-15 mph from the SW since about midnight. It's currently 10 degrees on Pre Laurel Peak and 22 at the Geyser Pass Trailhead.

For a list of recent observations go here.

Storm totals and temperature in Gold Basin.(10,000')

Wind, temperature and humidity on Pre Laurel Peak.(11,700')

Snow totals, temperature and snow/water equivalent at the Geyser Pass Trailhead. (9600')

recent activity

On Monday, two visiting skiers/snowboarders triggered a persistent slab avalanche on the lower portion of Gravel Pit Lanes on the NE face of Tukno at 11,000'. This spot is a repeat offender that was responsible for an avalanche injury last season. Steep and rocky, and with a sharp convexity, this represents the type of terrain where one would still be most likely to trigger an avalanche. Fortunately, no one was caught. Check out the full report from Dave Garcia who spoke to the party in the parking lot.


(Dave Garcia photos)

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

Avalanches within the new snow will be possible today on all aspects on slopes steeper than about 30 degrees. They may present themselves as loose snow sluffs or as slightly cohesive soft slabs. This type of avalanche should be mostly manageable today, but they'll pack more of a punch in upper elevations where snow accumulations may have exceeded 10" or more.

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

Though pretty well behaved, southerly winds are blowing just enough to move snow around and there is plenty available for transport. Today there will be an increasing wind slab danger in upper elevation, wind exposed terrain, particularly on slopes that face N-NE-E. Look for signs of instability such as cracking in the snow surface, and avoid smooth, rounded deposits of wind drifted snow.

Avalanche Problem 3
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

Though making up an increasingly smaller portion of the terrain, it is still possible to trigger an avalanche on buried weak layers of faceted snow. Steep, rocky, northerly facing terrain, starting a few hundred feet below tree line, remains the most suspect. Be wary of steep convexities, blind break overs, and high consequence terrain. Additional snow load over the weekend will increase the potential for triggering a deeper, persistent slab avalanche.

weather

An active pattern is in store as series of storms are lined up to affect our area into early next week.

Today

Snow. Patchy fog before 10am. High near 19. Southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

Tonight

Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Patchy blowing snow between 10pm and 2am. Low around 16. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.

Saturday

Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Patchy blowing snow before 9am, then patchy blowing snow after 3pm. High near 20. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph becoming west northwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches possible.

Saturday Night

Snow likely, mainly before 11pm. Patchy blowing snow before 2am. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly cloudy, with a low around 11. Blustery, with a west northwest wind 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Sunday

Snow likely, mainly after 11am. Patchy blowing snow after 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 21. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

general announcements

Grooming: Heavy snow through the weekend will prevent grooming.

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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.