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Forecast for the Moab Area Mountains

Issued by Eric Trenbeath for Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 6:46am
The avalanche danger is MODERATE today with two very different avalanche problems. At the upper elevations, be on the lookout for recent deposits of wind drifted snow on the lee sides of ridge crests and terrain features. Dry snow sluffs within the most recent snow are also possible on very steep terrain. And as the day heats up, be alert to a rising danger for wet slide activity. Signs of instability include roller balls and pinwheels. Get off of, and out from under steep slopes if they start to become wet and sloppy.
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Special Announcements
Grand County has plowed but the road is very narrow and snow packed with chunks of plow debris. Dirt is exposed in some places and it will get muddy today. 4x4 required.
Sunday, April 14 will be the last regular advisory for the season. I will post updates as conditions warrant through the rest of the month. As we wind down I want to thank our local supporters including Moab Gear Trader, Talking Mountain Yurts, and ROAM Industry, for helping make this a great season!
Thank you to everyone who supported our spring fundraiser. We reached and exceeded our goals. The UAC could not exist without your support.
Weather and Snow
Skies are clear, northerly winds are mostly light, and 10,000' temps are in the mid teens. We'll see mostly sunny skies today with high temps in the mid 30's. Wednesday's storm delivered 24" of powder, and conditions have been pretty all time, especially for April. Cloud cover, and cool temps over the last couple of days have preserved the snow remarkably well for this time of year, but the sun has poked out just enough to affect the snow surface in many areas. You can still find good, settled powder however on northerly aspects.
New snow totals in Gold Basin (10,000')
Snotel totals at the Geyser Pass Trailhead (9600')
Winds at 11,000 feet on Abajo Peak (11,330') about 45 miles south.
National Weather Service point forecast.
Recent Avalanches
I received reports of a skier taking a ride and losing some gear on the NE face of Tukno. Details are scant, but it sounds like he triggered a sluff, or soft wind slab within the most recent snow, and was carried for a few hundred feet. This type of avalanche remains a possibility in the higher terrain.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Strong west and northwest winds during the storm blew and drifted snow onto leeward slopes, primarily at upper elevations. Most of these drifts have gained strength and stabilized, but you are still going to want to remain cautious, especially if you are getting into steeper, higher terrain. The danger is greatest on upper elevation slopes facing N-E-SE. Cross loading is also a factor - look for drifts on the lee sides of gully walls and beneath rock outcroppings. Wind drifts are recognizable by their smooth, rounded, "pillowy" appearance, and cracking in the snow surface is a sign of instability.
Avalanche Problem #2
Wet Snow
A gradual warming and refreezing of the most recent snow has tempered the threat of wet slide activity somewhat, but the most recent snow is still susceptible to the effects of the sun. As the day heats up, remain alert to signs of instability such as roller balls, pinwheels, and point release sluffs. Stay off of, and out from under steep slopes as they start to get wet and sloppy.
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 forecast is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

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