Forecast for the Logan Area Mountains

Issued by Toby Weed for Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - 7:16am
MODERATE: Expect an increasing danger of avalanches involving wind drifted snow at all elevations. Heightened conditions exist already and the danger will increase today as snow piles up and drifts grow deeper, overloading widespread weak surface snow. Dangerous human triggered avalanches failing on a persistent weak layer near the ground remain possible on upper elevation north facing slopes.
  • Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.
I will update this advisory on Friday morning.
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Beaver Mountain and Cherry Peak open for the season today! Enjoy the lifts, but remember as soon as you cross the ski area boundary, you are heading into the backcountry.
Check out the new free online avalanche course series developed by the Utah Avalanche Center. This is a great way to refresh your skills or prepare you for a Backcountry 101 or Level 1 class. HERE
Weather and Snow
Cold clear nights and drastic temperature changes have caused the surface snow to become sugary and faceted. In the past couple days I've found different variations of weak surface snow on many slopes and at all elevations in the Bear River Range. In most shady areas the top few inches of snow now consists of loose small-grained sugary facets. I found areas with surface hoar feathers in the valley bottoms and along the ridges, including in avalanche starting zones. In other areas, weak sun-crusts and stronger crusts capping sugary facets.
The Tony Grove Snotel at 8400' reports 24º F and 31"of total snow, containing 96% of average SWE for the date. It's 15º F and southwest winds are howling this morning at 40 mph with a gust of 54 mph at the 9700' CSI Logan Peak weather station.
It'll be around 18º F today at 8500' with wind chill values as low as -2. Expect a southwest wind 22 to 31 mph veering from west northwest in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph, and total daytime snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches is possible. Should be mostly cloudy tonight, with a low around 7º F. Wind chill values will be as low as -11, with a west wind 17 to 22 mph decreasing to 9 to 14 mph after midnight.
Recent Avalanches
No avalanches have been observed or reported in the Logan Zone recently.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Southwest winds picked up significantly overnight, and it'll remain windy today as snow accumulates and is drifted onto mountain slopes.
The danger of wind slab avalanches will increase this afternoon as snow piles up and drifts grow deeper, overloading widespread weak surface snow.
  • Even small avalanches can be very dangerous with shallow, early season snow cover. You could get dragged through rocks or deadfall if you get caught and carried.
  • Avoid recently drifted snow in steep terrain.
High pressure weather conditions are bad for future stability and weak layers are developing within and on the surface of the shallow snow currently on the ground. Surface Hoar (Garden City Bowls 12/11/18)
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
Heightened conditions remain, and persistent weak layer avalanches are possible on upper elevation slopes with poor snow structure. Although becoming less likely with time, dangerous human triggered avalanches 1 to 3 feet deep remain possible.
  • The sugary weak snow near the ground is fairly shallow in the Logan Zone, so potential avalanches will probably be on smooth upper elevation slopes or in pockets between rocky anchors and terrain features.
  • Collapsing and cracking indicate that the snow is unstable.
General Announcements
The new UAC IOS mobile app is now available on the app store. Check out the new "My Weather" feature. HERE
Check out the new free online avalanche course series developed by the Utah Avalanche Center. This is a great way to refresh your skills or prepare you for a Backcountry 101 or Level 1 class. HERE
Now is a great time to practice companion rescue techniques with your backcountry partners. Here is our practice video.
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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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