Forecast for the Logan Area Mountains

Issued by Toby Weed for Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 5:56am
CONSIDERABLE: Use extra caution in the backcountry, make conservative choices, and continue to stay off and out from under steep drifted slopes. Heavy snowfall and drifting overloaded slopes with buried persistent weak layers and created dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry. Avalanches could be triggered remotely, from a distance, or below. You can find safer conditions on lower angled slopes (<30º), at lower elevations, and in sheltered terrain, but evaluate snow and terrain carefully, and continue to avoid avalanche runout zones.
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Weather and Snow
Yesterday's storm didn't produce anywhere near as much snow as we thought it might, but north winds drifted the fresh snow into stiffer drifts in exposed terrain at all elevations. The fresh snow down low was somewhat heavy and it stuck to the branches in sheltered areas creating a winter wonderland effect. Upper elevation terrain remained shrouded in clouds and spindrift, and I did not dare to venture very high. Lacking much in the way of information and having avoided dangerous avalanche terrain myself over the weekend, I'm facing some degree of uncertainty about conditions. Even so, I'm confident in saying that dangerous avalanche conditions exist and that anyone venturing into avalanche terrain today need use extra caution.
The Tony Grove Snotel at 8400' reports 4 inches of new snow with .3" SWE yesterday morning. It's 12º F this morning and there's 63" of total snow containing 94% of average SWE for the date. I'm reading a wind chill of -15º F, with 4º F at the 9700' CSI Logan Peak weather station, and northwest winds are currently averaging around 20 mph.
Weak weather disturbances embedded in a moist northwest flow will impact mainly northern Utah and southwest Wyoming during the latter portion of the week. Today we'll see mostly sunny skies, with high temperatures at 8500' around 19º F, and 15 to 20 mph west-northwest winds. Tonight, expect a slight chance of snow showers and wind chills around -12º F, low temperatures around 6º F, and 15 mph west wind. Snow showers are likely tomorrow with 2 to 4 inches possible, a high temperature around 25º F, and 20 to 25 mph west wind with gusts around 40 mph.
Recent Avalanches
-A backcountry skier was buried by and avalanche and killed near Fairview late Thursday. Search and rescue teams from Emery and Sanpete County recovered his body Friday near Electric Lake on the Manti Skyline. Preliminary report HERE.
- Guides from Whisper Ridge in the southern Bear River Range report and active day yesterday, with numerous easily triggered and manageable, shallow and soft wind slab avalanches
-Natural avalanches were widespread across the Logan Zone late last week, but they're covered up by fresh snow now so not so obvious. Natural avalanches of note observed Sunday include somewhat blown-in evidence of large hard slab avalanches in Wood Camp, Tab Hollow, and Logan Dry Canyon.
Eric caught a view of this large natural avalanche in Logan Dry, just as it was hit by the last rays of sunlight.
Please report backcountry avalanche activity in the Logan Zone if you see any today....
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Northwest winds came down into lower elevations in many parts of the Bear River Range yesterday, and ground blizzard conditions were reported in the Bear Lake Area. Drifting from northwest wind continues at upper elevations this morning. Wind drifted snow is causing dangerous avalanche conditions in exposed upper and mid elevation terrain and heightened conditions at lower elevations. Dangerous triggered avalanches are likely in the backcountry. As drifts built up and continue to build on slopes with buried persistent weak layers, dangerous avalanche conditions are likely to persist for a while.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
The shallow snow near the ground in many areas is loose, sugary, and faceted. Avalanches on buried persistent weak layers could be remote triggered on steep slopes with shallow snow and poor snow structure, you might trigger one from a distance, or below. The weak faceted snow will cause slopes to be unstable as they gradually adjust to the new snow and drifting. A smaller wind drifted snow avalanche might step down into old snow as it descends and become large and dangerous. The sugary snow will remain weak and many slopes will probably stay unstable for a while.
Additional Information
I will update this forecast tomorrow morning.
Now is a great time to practice companion rescue techniques with your backcountry partners. You should check out and use the new Avalanche Beacon Training Park we set up at the Franklin Basin trailhead. Special thanks to Northstars Ultimate Outdoors and USU Outdoor Program for helping us to make this possible.
General Announcements
The Beaver Mountain Backside is the backcountry, and it is avalanche terrain. If you cross the ski area boundary, you and your partners should carry and practice with avalanche rescue equipment.
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This forecast is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. The forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

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