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Forecast for the Provo Area Mountains

Greg Gagne
Issued by Greg Gagne for
Monday, March 28, 2022
The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE at all aspects and elevations due to recent and continued warming of the snowpack. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely. Avoid being in avalanche paths and below avalanche runout zones.
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Weather and Snow
Temperatures range through the upper 30's and low 40's F and south winds are increasing - averaging in the teens with gusts in the 30's at mid elevations and gusting over 80 mph at 11,000'.
For today, cloudy skies and moderate to strong southerly winds gusting into the 30's and 40's mph along exposed mid-elevation ridges with gusts in the 60's and 70's (possibly stronger) along the upper-most ridges. Temperatures will rise into the 40's F. Showers (that is, snow above 9,000' with light rain below that elevation) are possible by late in the day.
The strong southerly winds are ahead of a spring storm system that arrives later today and last through Wednesday, bringing 2-4" of dense snow and cooler temperatures.
Recent Avalanches
Several large natural avalanches have been reported from the past few days, including Santaquin Canyon, Stewart Falls and Elk Point (vieo below):
Nikki Champion and McKinley Talty visited the Aspen Grove area on Sunday and their observation provides an excellent account of recent avalanche activity and the current snowpack.
McKinley described it as an "eerie afternoon" as "the audible rumbling of wet avalanches coming down from above would have surely grabbed the attention of anyone nearby."
Avalanche Problem #1
Wet Snow
It has been roughly 100 hours (4 days) since most mountain locations have had below-freezing temperatures with another day of warm temperatures ahead. Cloud cover, winds, and slightly cooler temperatures today should mean less warming, but the snowpack remains warm and wet with meltwater moving down through the snowpack. As this water trickles down, it loosens (weakens) the bonds, creating a weak snowpack structure where both natural and human-triggered avalanches can occur.
These wet avalanche types include:
  • Wet Loose avalanches are likely on all aspects and elevations and may subsequently trigger wet slabs.
  • Wet Slab avalanches are possible on many aspects and elevations, especially on steep northeast to southeast facing aspects. Crown depths may be 1-3' with very wide propagation.
  • Cornices are sagging and may calve off, triggering avalanches below.
With no overnight refreezes, the usual spring protocol of an early start doesn't apply right now and it is best to all avalanche terrain until colder temperatures lock up the snowpack.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
You can still trigger slab avalanches 1-3' deep on our Jan/Feb drought layer of facets, especially on mid-to upper elevation north to northeast facing slopes. You may trigger these remotely - from a distance or from below.
General Announcements
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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.