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Forecast for the Provo Area Mountains

Issued by Trent Meisenheimer for Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 7:08am
The avalanche danger is MODERATE for wind drifted snow at all upper elevations and at mid elevation northeast through easterly facing terrain. Strong southerly winds will create dangerous slabs of snow across specific terrain features and human triggered avalanches are possible. Rain is possible today at the low to mid elevations and this could create a MODERATE danger for wet snow avalanches.
I will be updating the Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo forecast Monday morning (April 15th) by 7:00 am.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
Daily early morning avalanche forecasts will end today, Sunday, April 14. However, with storms this week we will issue an early morning forecast on Monday (April 15th) and on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Easter weekend (April 19-21). Throughout the rest of April, we will issue intermittent updates with any snowfall or other significant weather events, and we will continue posting observations.

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Weather and Snow
The southwest winds ramped up ahead of a series of storms that will impact the mountains for the next few days. 11,000' anemometers are currently spinning 25-30 mph gusting into the 40's and 50's. 10,000' winds are blowing 15-20 mph gusting into the 20's and 30's. Temperatures are hovering just above freezing up to 8,800' in elevation.
Today: As the storm moves in from the Pacific the southerly winds are forecasted to increase today and into tonight with speeds of 30-40 mph gusting into the 70's at 11,000'. Clouds are moving in from Nevada as I type this and will arrive shortly after sunrise with a chance for a couple of inches of snow by the end of today. The temperatures will be warm and the rain snow line will be 8,000'-9,000' feet in elevation.
Monday: Strong southerly winds will continue in the morning hours before a small storm rolls through midday allowing for a better shot of snow. Monday evening the winds return ahead of a much better storm on Tuesday.
Tuesday: Snow flurries. By the end of the day on Wednesday we could see 5"-10" of new snow.
Recent Avalanches
No new observations from the Provo area. Yesterday, in the SLC mountains a group of backcountry skiers triggered a large storm snow avalanche in upper Big Willow Cirque. The avalanche was 400' wide and up to 4' feet deep in places. One rider was caught and carried, but was able to self arrest on the bed surface and was not buried. They reported a lost pole and a broken ski (Picture below: Kemp). You can read their observation HERE. As the strong sun came out yesterday afternoon many observers noted a natural wet loose avalanche cycle on the sunny aspects.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Strong southerly winds picked up last night around 9:00 pm and continue to blow with speeds of 20-30 mph gusting into the 30's and 40's at upper elevations. This will certainly create a fresh batch of new wind drifts and slabs across the mid and upper elevations. Winds typically load snow on leeward slopes, gullies, bowls, and mid slope break-overs. Shooting cracks along with thick upside down snow are red flags and shouldn't be ignored. Look for and avoid any steep slope that looks like it's been effected from the wind. Human triggered avalanches are possible.
Avalanche Problem #2
Wet Snow
With strong winds and clouds arriving just after sunrise I don't expect the sun to be an issue today. The wind and cloud cover should be enough to keep any wet activity at bay. The wild card will be the rain. The rain/snow line is forecasted to be around 8,000'-9,000' feet in elevation today and into this evening. Anytime we have rain falling on dry snow it instantly spikes the avalanche danger and wet loose sluffs will be instantaneous. Seek out lower angled terrain and avoid run-out zones if for some reason we see heavy rain on snow today.
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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