Forecast for the Ogden Area Mountains

Issued by Evelyn Lees for Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 6:48am
The avalanche danger will rapidly rise from LOW to CONSIDERABLE with sun and daytime heating on steep slopes of almost all aspects and elevations. Wet snow avalanches will entrain snow as they move down slope, resulting in large piles of cement like debris. As soon as the snow becomes damp, it’s time to get off of and out from under steep slopes. Avoid travel in avalanche runout zones - below gullies and chutes - where long running natural avalanches could reach even the lower elevations.

Mark will update the Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo forecasts Thursday morning (April 18th) by 7:30 am.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
Winter's not stopping, and neither are we! More snow = more forecasts through April 21st. We'll be doing early morning online forecasts for Ogden, Salt Lake and Provo most days this week, and definitely on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Easter weekend (April 19-21). Check the Bottom Line each day for the time of the next up date. We will continue posting observations every day this week.
Resorts closed for the season are now backcountry terrain - no avalanche mitigation is being done. Utah ski resorts are on a mix of private and public Forest Service land, and each resort has a different uphill policy - contact the individual resort for details.
Weather and Snow
The warm, spring storm moved on, leaving behind 6 to 10" of very dense snow at the highest elevations in the Ogden area mountains, with a good dose of rain at the mid and lower elevations (over 2" in some spots). The rain/snow line finally lowering to about 7,500’ yesterday. Temperatures have cooled into the upper 20s, with Mt Ogden a chilly 19 degrees. The northwesterly winds are very light - even Mt Ogden is only averaging 10 mph!
Today: Sunshine!! Skies will be mostly clear today, with occasional puffy cumulus moving through. Temperatures will warm into the low 40s at the mid elevations and near 30 along the highest ridge lines. Northwesterly winds will remain light, averaging less than 15 mph, with speeds at Mt Ogden forecast to occasionally pick up into the 20 to 25 mph range. Most snow surfaces will be crusted early this morning, rapidly becoming wet with daytime heating. Groomers may provide an excellent window of spring skiing conditions.
Recent Avalanches
No new observations from the Ogden area mountains.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wet Snow
In spring, forecasts only get you so far, and then you have to become a Nowcaster - with direct sun and warming temperatures, be alert to when the snow heats and becomes wet and sloppy. Wet loose sluffs and wet slabs can then be triggered on almost all aspects and elevations, with natural avalanches possible.
Clues will be abundant when the snow heats - you will feel the hot April sun, surface crusts melt, the snow becomes punchy, sticky or damp, pinwheels or swarms of roller balls race downhill, you’re triggering small sluffs or the snow is falling off rocks and trees. The danger for wet sluffs or wet slabs can rise from LOW to CONSIDERABLE in minutes.
With a hard ice crust beneath the new snow, slides will entrain snow and run further than expected. Wet avalanche debris piles up instead of spreading out, and even small slides can deposit 4 feet of cement like debris. Avoid all steep terrain, including being in and below steep chutes and gullies, and small terrain traps at the lower elevations.
Avalanche Problem #2
Normal Caution
If you find some dry snow on the highest northerly facing slopes, it may be possible to trigger a lingering wind drift or new snow slide. Signs of wind drifts include cracking of the snow and looking for and avoiding smooth, rounded pillows of snow. Dig down and look at the layering. After the day has heated, any dry snow slides will turn into wet slides as they move downhill.
New and old cornices may break back further than expected and even from a distance. Stay well back from corniced edges when traveling on ridge lines and avoid travel beneath them.
Glide cracks - after the deluge of rain, expect glide cracks to continue growing, releasing at random with the entire snowpack crashing down. Glide cracks have been spotted in many of the classic places one could expect.
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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