Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Provo Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Friday - March 27, 2015 - 6:26am
bottom line

With only a minor refreeze last night and skyrocketing temps today, the danger will trend toward CONSIDERABLE for human triggered wet avalanches as the recent storm snow transitions from cold and dry to warm and wet. While wet loose avalanches tend to run at a slower pace than their dry counterparts, it's more difficult to get untangled from flowing wet avalanches before they set up like concrete in the deposition zone. Isolated pockets of lingering wind drifts may be found in the high alpine, more pronounced on north to easterly facing terrain.




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current conditions

Skies are clear. Mountain temps are again 10 degrees warmer than they were at this time yesterday morning....pushing roughly 20 degrees warmer than 48 hours ago. Most stations have overnight lows in the low 30s; however many in the mid-elevation "thermal belt" have current temps in the upper 30s and even low 40s. Clear skies'll have a superficial refreeze on all but the high northerlies...and this variable breakable to supportable crust will break down rapidly with direct sun and scalding temps today. Winds are generally light from the northwest.

recent activity

On a generally quiet avalanche day in the backcountry, the more notable human triggered wet loose avalanche occurred high in the Provo mountains - a wet loose slide intentionally triggered on descent that spanned 75' wide and running a few hundred feet to the transition below. Ski area snow safety teams noted generally minor wet activity and the few very isolated wind pockets that would move with provocation. (photo, Dempster)

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 12 hours
description

With 10,000' temps soaring to near 40 and 8000' heading toward the upper 50s today, wet avalanche activity should be on full display today for folks overstaying their welcome on the steep sun-kissed terrain. Just like clockwork, wet activity will begin with solar heating first on east facing slopes, followed by south and then west. That window between cold breakable crust and wet and unstable cement will be a matter of a few hours. Human triggered wet sluffs in steep, confined terrain may produce sizeable - if tree-snapping debris piles in the runout zones below...and they may run further than expected on the hard, icy surface beneath them. Once you note roller balls of wet snow or natural wet sluffing, it's time to pack it up and move to cooler aspects or the trailhead.

For more info on Travel Advice for Wet Loose Avalanches, click on the 'i' next to the Wet Loose infographic above.

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

Worth a mention. While most of these wind drifts have likely settled out, continue to be suspicious of any wind pockets, particularly above steep unforgiving terrain. These are generally manageable with cornice drops and slope cuts, breaking at your feet or ride rather than above you (as is common with hard slabs or buried persistent weak layers).

weather

A weak storm passing to the north is slated for tomorrow afternoon but not before we see rapidly warming temps today into tomorrow. 8000' highs are expected to reach into the upper 50s with 10k temps spiking near 40. Winds will be generally light from the northwest. Weak storms pass through late Tuesday and again late Thursday to keep the temps in check over the next 7 days.

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 also call us at 801-524-5304, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.

If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry - especially if you are adjacent to a ski area – please call the following teams to alert them to the slide and whether anyone is missing or not. Rescue teams can be exposed to significant hazard when responding to avalanches, and do not want to do so when unneeded. Thanks.

Salt Lake and Park City – Alta Central (801-742-2033), Canyons Resort Dispatch (435-615-3322)

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This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always exist.