The snow is stable in most areas and avalanches are generally unlikely. But, triggered avalanches involving stiff wind drifted snow are possible on very steep drifted slopes in the backcountry. Drifts formed with the strong east winds on 12/31/18 in unusual places at all elevations, and a party of three riders triggered a large and dangerous hard slab avalanche on a south facing slope in Providence Canyon yesterday.
The Tony Grove Snotel at 8400' reports 29º F this morning and there's 39"of total snow containing 83% of average SWE. It's a warm 25º F at the 9700' CSI Logan Peak weather station, and south winds are currently averaging about 30 mph and gusting to around 45 mph.
An upper level trough will approach Utah tonight and generate widespread precipitation tonight through Sunday. A couple of trailing weather disturbances will impact mainly the northern half of the forecast area Sunday night through Monday. We'll see increasing clouds today, with a high temperature at 8500' around 34º F and 16 to 23 mph southwest wind. Tonight it will snow, with 2 to 4 inches of accumulation possible, a low temperature around 18º F and 26 to 30 mph south-southwest wind. Tomorrow, we'll see continue snowfall and wind, temperatures falling to around 18º F, and 16 to 24 mph west wind with gusts around 40 mph.
The shallow snow on the ground in many areas has become loose, sugary, and faceted in the past couple weeks, and this week's very cold temperatures didn't help. We've found particularly weak snow at mid and lower elevations in the backcountry, and anywhere where the total snow is fairly shallow. At upper elevations and in deeper areas, weak sugary snow exists just under the surface. Feathery surface hoar is widespread across the zone. In most cases, lacking a slab of stronger snow on top for now, the sugary snow is currently stable despite it's weakness.
Yesterday afternoon, 3 lucky riders triggered a large hard slab avalanche on a south facing slope at about 9000' in elevation near Providence Peak. Luckily nobody got caught in the 4' to 6' deep and 300' wide avalanche consisting of wind drifted snow and failing on a sugary or faceted persistent weak layer. See Report HERE