Forecaster Blogs

Blog: Do Cell Phones Interfer with Beacons? - Dec 21, 2015 - Evelyn Lees
Yes!   Especially in SEARCH mode. Several reports from failed or severely disturbed and delayed rescue action in the last years have shown that electronic equipment can have a very unpredictable and severe influence on avalanche rescue transceivers. Basic recommendations: In SEND (transmit) mode keep items like cell phones, radios, iPods, and cameras with wireless capability at least 20cm away from your transceiver.  Further is better.  If your cell phone is on, it should be in Airplane Mode to minimize interference.  Better yet,...


Blog: How We Create Forecasts - Dec 17, 2015 - Staff Blog
  Ever wonder how we create forecasts?  Wonder no longer because we created a 5-minute, entertaining video. And here's the direct link: https://youtu.be/1KYwEk4G9Js


Blog: Forecast Addendum - Dec 16, 2015 - Dec 16, 2015 - Brett Kobernik
There is lots going on with the snow, weather and avalanche danger right now. Looking at this from a backcountry powder skiers perspective, I don't like it.  The older snow from November has become so weak that it is not going to allow me to get onto my favorite steep slopes for quite some time.  I was fairly optimistic until about a week and a half ago when I finally had to admit defeat.  The the old faceted snow has progressed to the stage that it's going to cause problems.  Now we are loading it up and it seems inevitable that we'll see avalanches.  It...


Blog: Utah Avalanche Fatalities in the Modern Era - Dec 10, 2015 - Hardesty
Analysis of Utah Avalanche Fatalities in the Modern Era             The Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) has records of Utah avalanche fatalities for the modern era, totaling 114 deaths. The modern era refers to the post-mining decades (the late 1800s and early 1900s) and for this study, it begins with an avalanche fatality near Alta, Utah on January 1, 1940.  The primary aims of this study were to understand who was getting killed in avalanches, where they were getting killed, and what types of avalanches were killing them.  By understanding these factors, and looking at trends over time, we...


Blog: Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop - October 31, 2015 - Nov 29, 2015 - Bruce Tremper
Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop 2015 - October 31, 2015 The Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (USAW) was yet another smashing success with over 600 attendees and 29 commercial exhibits.  Each year, USAW provides critical, continuing education for both professionals and the public with attendees and presenters from across the Intermountain West.  The chief organizer and MC, Craig Gordon, wore his usual tuxedo, combined with the energy that only Craig can deliver. Because USAW evolved from being a continuing education seminar just for professionals, it features talks with more...


Blog: Winter Forecast - Sep 28, 2015 - Bruce Tremper
It's that time of year when everyone asks me, "What kind of winter are we going to have." I always give the same answer: "We will get what we get.  If anyone could reliably forecast long term weather, they could be fabulously wealthy." "But this is a big El Nino year.  It's supposed to be HUGE!" "Nope," I reply, "Neither El Nino nor La Nina have any correlation to northern Utah because we are on the boundary between the two regimes. It's supposed to be wet to the south of us and dry to the north of us....


Blog: Welcome Mark Staples - new Director of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center - Sep 1, 2015 - by Bruce Tremper
Mark Staples, new Director of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center I’m excited by the choice of Mark Staples as the new Director of the Forest Service side of the Utah Avalanche Center.  (The UAC is a Forest Service – nonprofit partnership.)  Mark will replace me as Director; I retired from the Forest Service August 28th and Mark was selected in mid August from a field of very qualified candidates.  And yes, I was very relieved to not be on the selection committee since I know all of the top candidates quite well.   Mark comes to us by way of...


Blog: Annual Report 2015 - Jun 9, 2015 - Bruce Tremper
Here is the Annual Report for 2014-15.  Click on the attachment for the complete report. In short, the unprecedented 2014-15 season smashed all previous records for the least amount of snow and the warmest temperatures since records began at Alta in the 1940’s.   The previous record for the least amount of snow at the Alta Guard Station was 314 inches in the infamous 1976-77 season.  This season only 267.5 inches fell from November 1st through April 30th. But the good news…Utah had only one fatality instead of the average of four.  We had 116 unintentional,...


Blog: New record low annual snowfall in progress - Mar 14, 2015 - Brett Kobernik
Year to Date I've been keeping an eye on the year to date snowfall at the Alta Guard for this season and it looks like we are well on our way to breaking a record for the all time lowest amount.  Records date back to 1945 at the Alta Guard.  Let's take a look at where we are. Here are the monthly totals (in inches) as of Saturday, March 14 along with the monthly averages:   Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr Total 2014-15 59.5 73.5 28.5 35 17   213.5 Average 70 92 94 83 90 68 499...


Blog: March 1st - How Bad is it So Far - Mar 2, 2015 - Bruce Tremper
The percent of normal for March 1st for the western U.S.  As you can see, we are doing much better than the West Coast but we're still around half of normal.  Here is a series of plots for various SNOTEL sites in the Wasatch. I plotted the average (blue), the lowest year on record (red) and this season (green.)  The lower elevation SNOTEL sites have much less snow than the lowest snow year on record.  The higher elevation plots are about tied for the record low.  So even though Utah has about half or normal for the season, we are still close...


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