Forecast for the Abajos Area Mountains

Issued by Mark Staples for Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 7:36am
The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE today near and above treeline., Human triggered avalanches involving new and wind drifted snow are likely and possibly a much deeper avalanche. The avalanche in Horse Creek in the La Sals tells us that these are dangerous avalanche conditions. Below treeline the danger is MODERATE.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
UAC director Mark Staples will be issuing forecasts for the La Sal and Abajo Mountains while Eric takes a vacation to warmer climates and does a short stint in the SLC office.
Weather and Snow
On Friday the Abajo Mountains picked up 6"-12" of dense, heavy snow accompanied by strong southwesterly winds yesterday. Local observer Kevin Dressel stayed out of the North Creek drainage due to impending avalanche danger from heavy snowfall and blowing and drifting snow. Read his observation here.
This morning temperatures range from the mid 20s F to teens F. Southerly winds are averaging 15 mph gusting to 25 mph.
Today skies will be partly cloudy. Temperatures should warm into the upper 20s F. Winds will remain what they are this morning. More snow is in the forecast for tonight and Monday but the best chance seems to be for Monday night.
Avoid wind drifted slopes like the one above. Photo taken on 03/07 by Kevin Dressel.
Snotel totals at Buckboard Flat (8924')
Snotel totals at Camp Jackson (8858')
Wind, temperature, and humidity on Abajo Peak (11,000')
National Weather Service point forecast.
Recent Avalanches
Yesterday we found a massive natural avalanche on Pre-Laurel Peak that ran into Horse Creek. It was 6-12 feet deep and over 2500 feet wide and broke about 6 inches above the ground. See more pictures HERE. This slope had been loaded by strong SW winds on Thursday & Friday when it likely occurred. The 3 inches of water weight in the last seven days meant that this slope had been loaded by a total of 6 inches of water weight.
This avalanche is a major red flag and nature's way of warning us that similar avalanches can occur. They will be most likely on slopes with wind-drifted snow. The combined weight of new snow and wind drifted snow has added a lot of stress to slopes. The key to triggering an avalnache like this is tickling the slope in a thin spot sometimes near rocks or other features we can't see. The point is that you or others can typically ride on a slope and put many tracks on it. It won't avalanche until someone finds the wrong spot.
Additional Information
Carry appropriate rescue gear: beacon, probe, shovel, and choose where you ride based on the avalanche forecast for the day!
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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