The UAC is sad to report that two skiers were caught and buried in a large avalanche in Upper Weber Canyon in the Uintas Thursday. One skier was successfully rescued and survived. Sadly, the other skier was buried deeper and did not survive. A preliminary report is available HERE.
Last week's fine powder conditions are now just a memory, and conditions are completely different this weekend. Heavy inverted snow, rain, and very strong southwest winds yesterday elevated the avalanche danger and made backcountry travel difficult. Hopefully clearing overnight and sublimation dried out and reverted the new snow, and people will find better powder conditions today. Dangerous avalanche conditions are likely in the backcountry, especially in windy terrain, and people need to pay close attention to signs of instability like cracking or collapsing. Colder temperatures overnight probably helped with the wet avalanche problem by freezing up the saturated snow, but warmer daytime temperatures and powerful sun today will revive the concern. Loose wet avalanches could entrain large piles of heavy snow and be a significant risk, especially with terrain traps below steep slopes.
The 8400' Tony Grove Snotel reports well over a foot of heavy snow with 1.7" SWE from yesterday's warm storm on top of the 15" of cold light powder from midweek. It's 18° F this morning, and there is 136 inches of total snow. Gale force winds from the southwest were recorded yesterday at the 9700' CSI Logan Peak weather station, with sustained hourly average wind speeds in excess of 50 mph for several hours and gusts close to 100 mph (98 mph) yesterday evening. Winds subsided overnight and are now blowing from the northwest 20 to 30 mph.
Here is the NWS point forecast for high elevations in the Central Bear River Range:
Today: A slight chance of snow between 9am and 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 25. Wind chill values as low as -6. West wind 13 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tonight: A 30 percent chance of snow after 2am. Increasing clouds, with a low around 10. Wind chill values as low as -2. West southwest wind around 9 mph. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Sunday:Snow likely, mainly after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 30. West southwest wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Unsettled weather will continue, with another stronger wave of stormy weather expected around Tuesday night.