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Forecast for the Moab Area Mountains

Issued by Eric Trenbeath for Monday, April 18, 2022
We're through issuing regular avalanche forecasts for the season but will post condition updates as warranted through the month. Your primary concern in the spring is loose wet avalanches from daytime heating. Plan to get in and out early befores slopes become wet and sloppy. New snow and wind drifted snow can also cause problems. Use the weather links below to aid in your trip planning, you are your own forecaster now!
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Special Announcements
We're through issuing regular forecasts for the season but will update through the month with a general conditions report as significant weather conditions dictate. I would like to give a huge shout out to all who supported operations this season. This includes everyone who regularly used the forecast to stay safe; our local business sponsors Moab Gear Trader, Talking Mountain Yurts, and ROAM Industry; Mammut, Black Diamond Equipment, Voile, and Arva for setting us up with the gear we need to do our job; the Manti-La Sal National Forest for their tremendous support of this program; and last but not least, our great local community and crew of dedicated observers who provide vital information and assistance throughout the season. Thanks everyone, see you next winter!
Weather and Snow
Get current and past 24-hour readings from these real-time weather links.
Wind, temperature, humidity on Pre Laurel Peak (11,700')
NWS Weather Forecast
Snowpack Discussion
Wind and warm temperatures have created variable, springtime conditions. Most surfaces are sun and or wind crusted with the effects of heat even creeping up into the higher north faces. The snowpack is largely transitional and we haven't gone into a corn cycle since the last snow on April 12. Remain on the lookout for isolated wind slabs in the high country where even a small avalanche could be dangerous in consequential terrain. As things warm up you'll need to be alert to signs of loose wet instability such as rollerballs and pinwheels, and sloppy wet snow. Get off of, and out from under steep slopes if they become wet and sloppy.
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Avalanche Problem #1
Normal Caution
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Spring Time Avalanche Concerns
Loose Wet Avalanches are the most common springtime avalanche hazard as a strong sun and warm temps melt and soften the snow surface. Signs of instability include rollerballs, pinwheels, and "point release" sluffs that fan out and gather more snow as they travel down the slope. Timing is everything this time of year. Work slopes according to their aspect in relation to the sun and get off of steep slopes as they become wet and sloppy.
Wet slabs release when melt water saturates a layer in the snowpack and the over riding slab fails as a cohesive layer. These avalanches are harder to predict than loose wet, and outward signs of this problem are not obvious, but sloppy, wet, or punchy snow indicate that the pack is trending towards unstable. Successive nights without a freeze and warm daytime temps contribute to instability. Avoid thin shallow rocky areas and terrain under cliffs, especially if the snow is becoming wet and sloppy.
New Snow can cause the avalanche danger to rise just like in the winter. Poorly bonded new snow can cause problems on all aspects when there is more than about 6" of new snow. Loose snow sluffs and soft slab avalanches are possible. This type of instability typically settles out in a day or two.
Wind Drifted Snow can create unstable drifts or slabs on the leeward sides of ridge crests and terrain features. Recent wind drifts are recognizable by their smooth, rounded appearance and cracking is a sign of instability. Unstable wind drifts can linger for days or even up to a week.
Additional Information
That's all folks! See you next year!
General Announcements
This forecast is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.