Sadly, there was another avalanche fatality yesterday in the western Uintas. A 49 year old man triggered a deep, wide avalanche and was buried and killed. Very preliminary report here.
Thursday, a snowmobiler was killed in an avalanche near Circleville Mountain in the Tushar mountains. Our deepest condolences to both their family and friends.
There have now been four avalanche fatalities in four weeks in Utah. Snow + wind = avalanches. With several more storms on the way, the avalanche danger will remain elevated in all the mountains of Utah through the week.
Overnight, the mountains received 3 to 6” of very low density snow (5%), with upper Big Cottonwood, favored by the southwest flow, coming in at 12” of snow. Temperatures are in the teens this morning, scattered light snow showers continue, and there has been a bit of a lull in the southwesterly winds. Speeds are moderate - averaging 10 to 15 mph at most stations, with only a couple ridgeline stations averaging 25 to 30 mph, gusting in the 40s.
There will be a few golden hours this morning before the southwesterly winds once again increase ahead of the next cold front. Increasing snow and wind by around noon, with the cold front arriving between 4 - 6 pm, accompanied by lightning and a burst of heavy snow. The strongest winds will be from about noon to 8 pm. Average speeds on mid elevations ridgeline speeds could reach 30 mph, with gusts in the 40s. The high elevation alpine terrain could average to 40 mph, gusting in the 60s. Winds will shift to NW and decrease after the front, with snow through midnight for areas favored by northwest flow. Snow totals of a foot or more by morning, with temperatures falling into the single digits.
A large slide, probably cornice triggered, ran down Tanners yesterday while there were parties in the gully, but no one was caught. Other reports were of widespread, stubborn, hard wind slabs, with people avoiding the wind drifts on steep slopes in the backcountry.
Photo - LARGE, deep, explosive triggered slide from Friday in Little Cottonwood Canyon.