Forecast for the Abajos Area Mountains

Issued by Eric Trenbeath for Saturday, January 5, 2019 - 7:27am
Today the avalanche danger is MODERATE on steep slopes that have recent deposits of wind drifted snow. Avoid slopes with a smooth rounded appearance or that show signs of instability such as cracking in the snow surface. There also remains an isolated, or MODERATE danger for avalanches stepping down 2'-4' deep into buried, persistent weak layers of loose, sugary, faceted snow. Northerly facing slopes with steep, rocky, and more radical terrain are the most suspect for this type of avalanche.
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Special Announcements
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Weather and Snow
Southwest winds have been on the increase overnight and are averaging 10-15 mph with gusts into the 20's. 10,000' temps are near 30 degrees. Today, look for increasing clouds as a Pacific storm system on a southwest flow moves into our area. We'll see moderate SW ridge top winds and high temps in the low 30's at 10,000'. Snowfall should begin around midnight and continue throughout the day tomorrow. It looks like about 6"-12" are possible.
The Abajo Mountains picked up 6"-8" of snow from Tuesday's storm and conditions are slowly but surely improving. Unfortunately, winds have had their way with the snow surface in exposed areas and you'll have to seek out more sheltered locations to find powder. Low snow conditions still exist so beware of buried land mines such as rocks, and downed trees. Base depth at Buckboard Flat is 20".
Dustin Randall from ROAM Industry was out and about this week and sent in theses pics:
Wind exposed surfaces have taken a hit.
But nice, settled powder can still be found in more sheltered terrain.
Snow totals at Buckboard Flat (8924')
Snow totals at Camp Jackson (8858')
Wind, temperature, and humidity on Abajo Peak (11,000')
National Weather Service point forecast.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Winds have been erratic and forceful throughout the week. A northeasterly component has been dominant and though it's been three days since the most recent snowfall, fresh, unstable deposits of wind drifted snow are still being reported. Continue to be on the lookout for newly formed wind slabs. Avoid slopes with a smooth rounded appearance, or that show signs of instability such as cracking in the snow surface.
Cracking in the snow surface such as this indicates an area of unstable, wind drifted snow. Dave Garcia photo.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
On upper elevation, northerly aspects, snow has been sitting around on the ground since October. This has formed a persistent weak layer of loose, sugary, faceted snow that makes an unstable base for new snow on top. In some areas it may be possible to trigger an avalanche 2'-3" deep down to these weak, sugary snow. Areas of steep, radical, and wind loaded terrain that faces the north half of the compass are where you are most likely to encounter this problem.
General Announcements
Your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please help us out by submitting snow and avalanche observations HERE. You can also call me at 801-647-8896, or send me an email:
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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 occur.

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