Forecast for the Provo Area Mountains

Nikki Champion
Issued by Nikki Champion for
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
This morning the overall avalanche danger is MODERATE but it may spike to CONSIDERABLE during periods of heavy snowfall and high winds. Today's new snow may produce long-running sluffs or soft slab avalanches. Additionally, the elevated winds may create unstable slabs of wind-drifted snow at the upper elevations. Human-triggered avalanches are possible. Natural avalanches are unlikely, but possible during periods of heavy snowfall rates (exceeding 2" an hour) or stronger winds.
Mid-elevation slopes generally had less wind, but human-triggered avalanches remain possible within the new snow. Pay attention to changing weather patterns.
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Special Announcements
Our last regular forecast is Sunday, April 17th. Intermittent forecasts will be issued through April based upon weather conditions which affect avalanche danger.
Weather and Snow
Snow: As of 5 a.m. 4-6" of new snow has fallen overnight and it is still coming down.
This morning, it is overcast with moderate snowfall in the mountains. Temperatures are in the mid-teens F and winds are primarily from the west-northwest and moderate. At mid-elevations winds are averaging 5-15 mph with gusts near 20 mph. At the upper elevations, winds are averaging in the 30s mph with gusts up to 50 mph.
Today, there is a winter storm warning in effect until 3 AM Wednesday. There will be periods of moderate snowfall throughout the day, and the possibility of isolated thunderstorms this afternoon. Temperatures will be in the upper-20s F. Winds will stay elevated and west-northwesterly, gusting up to 30 mph at the mid-elevations and up to 55 mph at the upper elevations. The strongest snowfall of the day could come late afternoon into the early evening, where snowfall rates could peak at 2" an hour. This storm totals could bring us 10-18 inches of snow, and up to 1.50” inches of water by tomorrow morning.
Recent Avalanches
No new avalanches were reported yesterday.
Avalanche Problem #1
New Snow
The issue is simple today, as the snowfall totals increases, the avalanche danger is going to increase as well. Roughly 4-6" inches of new snow has fallen throughout the Provo area mountains by 5 AM this morning, and the cold front is predicted to have multiple periods of high snowfall rates and overall high snowfall totals (10-18" of snow by Wednesday). All of this new snow is going to have a variety of excellent bed surfaces to slide on and I expect to see shallow new snow avalanches in the backcountry today.
With the generally cold temperatures, and so many supportable bed surfaces in the backcountry, I would expect to see the new snow primarily failing as fast running sluffs, but this doesn't mean that shallow soft slab avalanches are out of the picture, particularly in sheltered terrain features. Look for both types of new snow instabilities today.
The type of avalanche will come down to how quickly the new snow bonds, versus how quickly the snow is falling from the sky. During any periods of higher rates of snowfall (greater than 1 inch per hour) avalanches will be easier to trigger. Pay attention to changing weather and increased snowfall rates. Watch for signs of instability such as cracking and sluffing. Even a small slide can have serious consequences in big, steep terrain or if you’re above cliffs.
The good news - this new snow issue should be generally simple to get a handle on how stable or unstable the snow is today. Use small test slopes to see how the new snow is behaving, take your shovel out, and perform a shovel tilt test or an extended column test to see if there is any propagation within the new snow.
Avalanche Problem #2
Wind Drifted Snow
In the wind zone, the new snow problem will be amplified by additional loading by the wind. Due to the elevated winds that have accompanied this front, you'll likely find slabs of wind drifted snow at the upper elevations, and some mid-elevation sub ridges as well. Winds have mostly been blowing from the northwest and west, but look for drifting on all aspects which can be loaded from the tops of ridges or across the sides of ridges.
Look for obvious signs of wind-drifted snow, such as pillow-shaped slopes, cracking, and whumping, and avoid those slopes.
General Announcements
Who's up for some free avalanche training? Get a refresher, become better prepared for an upcoming avalanche class, or just boost your skills. Go to and scroll down to Step 2 for a series of interactive online avalanche courses produced by the UAC.
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.