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Forecast for the Ogden Area Mountains

Issued by Drew Hardesty for Monday, March 25, 2019 - 6:53am
The avalanche danger will rapidly rise to CONSIDERABLE for wet avalanches on all steep sunlit slopes today with sun and warming.
Natural and human triggered wet loose and wet slab avalanches are certain on east, then south, then west facing slopes...and even include low and some mid elevation northerly terrain. AVOID BEING ON OR BENEATH STEEP SUNLIT SLOPES BY THE TIME THEY'VE BECOME WET AND UNSTABLE. Human triggered soft slab avalanches are still possible in the northerly mid and upper elevations.
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Weather and Snow
Severe clear.
Mountain temperatures are in the mid twenties.
Winds are westerly, blowing 10-15mph with gusts to 20.
Yesterday's burst of snowfall added up to 4-8" in the span of a few hours with 1-2' storm totals since last Thursday. Skiing and riding has been excellent up high and a bit slow and sticky down low.
For today, we'll have clear skies, diminishing west to southwest winds, and skyrocketing temperatures to near 50°F in the mountains. Ridgetop temps will rise to the mid-30s. It'll be sweltering out there -
The HEAT WAVE will continue through Wednesday night with ridgtop temps rising to near 40°F with poor-at best-overnight refreezes. A cold front arrives with relief early Thursday morning.
Recent Avalanches
Avalanche control teams triggered numerous new snow soft slabs at the mid and upper elevations yesterday along with lower elevation damp push-alanches running fast and far on the slick underlying crusts. In the backcountry, ski parties intentionally triggered storm snow instabilities 4-8" deep and up to 80' wide. (Cutler Ridge observation HERE)
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Avalanche Problem #1
Wet Snow
The cold dry storm snow will turn on a dime today with the direct sun and skyrocketing temperatures and all the recent storm snow will run fast and far on the underlying crusts on the east, then south, then west facing slopes. Wet loose and (possibly) wet slab avalanches are certain on these sunlit slopes. Cement-like debris piles will be impressive under the steepest, most sustained terrain. Low to mid elevation shady slopes will also become unstable with the dramatic warming and may gouge into unconsolidated wet grains below (creating a much larger avalanche).
Initial signs of instability include rollerballs, pinwheels, initially small sluffs. These are signs to seek colder aspects or low angle terrain.
Timing is key. Plan your descents and exits accordingly.
Avalanche Problem #2
New Snow
Yesterday's storm snow instability peaked in the mid-morning hours, but one may still trigger a lingering soft slab avalanche up to a foot deep along the highest elevation northerly aspects. By the afternoon, most of these will have settled out entirely.

CORNICES will become more sensitive as they sag in the sweltering heat. These have become enormous this winter and destruction from cornice failure has been well observed and documented this week. INFO.
ROOF-ALANCHES are also expected with the sun and temperatures. PLEASE spread the word to other homeowners in the mountains. Roof-alanche fatalities have occurred in the West this year with many close calls.
Avalanche Problem #3
Persistent Weak Layer
Buried and preserved surface hoar and faceted, recrystallized snow - now 12-18" deep - may still be triggered in the shady terrain of the mid and upper elevations. We found it active and collapsing on Saturday above about 7500' with avalanches triggered on this layering on Friday. This layering should be viewed as suspect until proven otherwise and slopes should be assessed individually with conservative decision making always a good call.
Fortunately, this layering is easy to recognize and test with both compression and extended column tests. Collapsing and cracking are sure signs of instability. These may be triggered remotely.
General Announcements
This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. 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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