Forecast for the Ogden Area Mountains

Issued by Evelyn Lees for Sunday, February 10, 2019 - 7:02am
It will be a day of increasing avalanche danger, with natural avalanches possible this afternoon and tonight during heavy snowfall and period of strongest winds.
The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on and below steep, wind drifted slopes at the upper elevations. Human triggered avalanches are likely and natural avalanches may become possible. Avoid being on or beneath the heavily corniced ridgelines and in avalanche runout zones such as gullies and couloirs being loaded by the wind or heavy snow.

Seek out non wind-drifted terrain . Wind sheltered, low and mid elevation terrain has a LOW TO MODERATE danger, and much better turning conditions.
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Special Announcements
Sadly, there was another avalanche fatality yesterday in the western Uintas. A 49 year old man triggered a deep, wide avalanche and was buried and killed. Very preliminary report here. Thursday, a snowmobiler was killed in an avalanche near Circleville Mountain in the Tushar mountains. Our deepest condolences to both their family and friends.
There have now been four avalanche fatalities in four weeks in Utah. Snow + wind = avalanches. With several more storms on the way, the avalanche danger will remain elevated in all the mountains of Utah through the week.
Weather and Snow
Overnight, the Ogden area mountains received 2 to 3” of very low density snow (5%). Temperatures are in the mid teens to low 20s this morning, skies are overcast, and there has been a bit of a lull in the southwesterly winds. Speeds are moderate - averaging 15 mph, with gusts to 25 at the mid elevations, and the highest ridgeline stations averaging 30 to 35 mph, with gusts to 50.
There will be a few golden hours this morning before the southwesterly winds once again increase ahead of the next cold front. Increasing snow and wind by around noon, with the cold front arriving between 4 - 6 pm, accompanied by lightning and a burst of heavy snow. The strongest winds will be from about noon to 8 pm. Average speeds on mid elevations ridgeline speeds could reach 30 mph, with gusts in the 40s. The high elevation alpine terrain could average to 40 mph, gusting in the 60s. Winds will shift to NW and decrease after the front, with snow through midnight for areas favored by northwest flow. Snow totals of about a foot by morning, with temperatures falling into the single digits.
Recent Avalanches
In the Ogden area mountains, resorts reported of very stubborn, hard wind slabs yesterday and cornices also more stubborn. The wind slabs are both along ridgelines and well down into mid elevation terrain.
Sharp Mountain (private land) - to the north of James Peak, had a very interesting avalanche on Friday. A remotely triggered hard slab on west to northwest facing slope at 8,600', breaking near the ground on facets 4 feet deep and 300' wide.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Wind drifts continue to be the number one avalanche concern today. The low density, overnight snow will be the weak layer for the next round of wind drifts. As the winds pick up today, new wind drifts will become deeper, more widespread and more sensitive. The old, hard wind drifts are now hidden beneath the new snow, and are more stubborn, likely to break above you or on the second or third person. It is possible to trigger these drifts from a distance or from below. The wind drifts will become more widespread as the day goes on, and natural releases are possible this afternoon.
Cornices continue to grow and will break back much further than expected. Travel way back from the edges of ridgelines and avoid travel beneath them.
Out of the wind drifted terrain, the new snow could sluff or produce shallow soft slabs during periods of heavy snowfall at all elevations.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
I am not sure what to think of this avalanche triggered yesterday in the "transitional zone" between the Ogden area and the Logan area mountains. Currently, it's a "one of a kind" avalanche for the Ogden area mountains. But scary and not to be ignored. Multiple snow and wind events mean we are starting to get unusual avalanches, and there is the chance that there are other slopes with a similar snowpack. Evaluate all steep slopes carefully - perhaps this was a slope with a shallow snowpack that had faceted, and then was heavily wind loaded this week.
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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