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Forecast for the Ogden Area Mountains

Issued by Greg Gagne for Sunday, January 6, 2019 - 7:02am
The avalanche hazard is CONSIDERABLE on all aspects in open, exposed terrain above 8500' for wind drifted snow, particularly on aspects facing north, northeast, and east. Snowfall today may create sensitive storm slabs on all aspects at all elevations. On slopes below 8500' the hazard is MODERATE.
The easiest recipe to enjoy today's storm snow is stick to low-angled, wind-sheltered terrain.
The hazard will be increasing as the day progresses, likely rising to HIGH by Monday morning.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Weather and Snow
Mountain temperatures are in the 20’s and winds are from the south and southwest and strong, averaging in the 20's and 30's mph, with gusts upwards of 70 mph above as low as 8500'
Overnight snowfall totals are 4-8” in the Ogden mountains.
For today’s weather, you can expect mountain temperatures in the 20’s with 4-6” additional snowfall. Winds will be from the southwest and west, gusting in the 20’s and 30’s above 8500’, with even stronger gusts along upper elevation ridgelines.
Recent Avalanches
There were no reports of avalanches in the Ogden backcountry on Saturday, but to the south in the Salt Lake mountains there were 8 human-triggered avalanches reported from the backcountry on Saturday. These were all hard wind slabs, 6” to 24” thick and 25’ to 200’ wide. Some ran up to 350’ vertical. In 4 of the slides, at least one member of the party went for a ride, with injuries involved in 2 of the occurrences. These hard wind slabs were on slopes facing north, northeast, and east, aspects what we refer to as leeward as they were drifted from the windward south, southwest, and westerly winds. However, one slide was on a west aspect, indicating how terrain can channel winds and deposit fresh drifts on almost any aspect. These slides were all in large, open, exposed terrain, and generally above 9500', although one very close call on Blue Ice in Broads Fork (observation) was at 9000'.
Below is a photo from a slide in Maybird Gulch (pic Reed Sullivan)
You can read about all of the reported avalanche activity by clicking here. Thanks to everyone for their field reports from Saturday.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Very strong winds Saturday created hard wind slabs at the mid and upper elevations, as well as large, overhanging cornices.
To complicate things, at least yesterday you could see them; these wind slabs are now buried by new storm snow, and winds today will create additional drifts.
Although the danger locator rose for this wind slab problem generously identifies wind slabs on all aspects at the mid and upper elevations, I think you are especially likely to find recent and new wind slabs in exposed open terrain above 8000', particularly on slopes facing north, northeast, and east. The hard drifts that formed yesterday may even be a little more stubborn today, allowing you to get well out onto a slope before it fractures.
Avalanche Problem #2
New Snow
Dense snowfall overnight and today will create fresh storm slabs that may be reactive, especially during any period of higher precipitation intensity. Cold, clear weather this past week created very weak faceted snow at the old snow surface, with widespread surface hoar found in the Ogden mountains. Saturday's strong winds likely eroded the surface hoar at the mid and upper elevations, but pockets of surface hoar may remain in sheltered lower elevations. Watch for signs of reactive storm snow including cracking and sluffing.
Fortunately, today's dense snow should provide excellent riding conditions on wind-sheltered, low-angled terrain.
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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