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Forecast for the Provo Area Mountains

Mark Staples
Issued by Mark Staples for
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
The avalanche danger today is CONSIDERABLE at upper elevations on wind loaded slopes where a cohesive slab of wind drifted snow rests on a persistent weak layer.
Mid elevations have a MODERATE danger with heightened avalanche conditions on any slope loaded by winds which should be increasing from the southwest today.

Low elevations received minimal new snow and have a LOW avalanche danger.

Conditions will become much more dangerous with strong winds and more snowfall over the next few days.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
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Weather and Snow
The storm ended yesterday around 9 a.m. with total snowfall amounts of 3-6 inches of snow (0.2-0.6 inches of water).
This morning, temperatures are hovering mostly in upper teens and low 20s F. Winds have increased some since yesterday and are blowing 11-14 mph with gusts up to 37 mph from the southwest.
Today will be noticeably warmer than yesterday with temperatures rising into the mid and upper 20s F. Lower elevations will have temperatures near freezing. Winds from the southwest will increase this afternoon averaging 20-30 mph with gusts at upper elevations reaching 55 mph.

Snow conditions and coverage are fantastic, especially for Nov 30th. Total snow depths above 7000 ft are 16-25 inches.

Tomorrow will have even stronger winds from the southwest ahead of another storm with snowfall beginning late tomorrow afternoon. It will be a fast moving storm with a lot of water that could bring 6-12 inches of snow.

From Ogden to the central Wasatch to the Provo mountains, we have received several excellent observations. You can find them HERE. Please keep these reports coming.
Recent Avalanches
There were many slides reported further north near SLC where more snow fell. Similar slides are in store for the Provo area mountains when another storm arrives tomorrow. Below is a photo (S. Thackeray) of one from Mineral Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon at 7,800 ft.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Winds will be increasing from the southwest today and transporting snow to the leeward (or downwind) side of ridges, gullies, and other terrain features. Cohesive slabs of this wind drifted snow should be easy to trigger. On most slopes these wind slabs will be resting on a weak layer of faceted snow that formed during two weeks of dry weather in the middle of November.
These wind slabs will cover wide areas, and the most likely places to find them will be upper elevations where southwest winds will be the strongest. However, look for them at mid elevations as well. Avoid these slopes.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
Dry and cold weather during the middle two weeks of November created a persistent weak layer (PWL) of facets on nearly all slopes. This layer was capped by yesterday's snowfall. On slopes that received sunshine and ones at mid and low elevations during a brief warmup around Thanksgiving, there is a fragile ice crust on top of this persistent weak layer. This ice crust doesn't really change the situation except on steep slopes facing due south where the ice crust is much thicker and stronger.
As mentioned above, the biggest and most dangerous avalanches will be on wind loaded slopes because the slab of snow on top of this weak layer is more cohesive and thicker. At mid and low elevations, there isn't much snow to create a very thick slab on top of this weak layer...but that will change later 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.