Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Issued by Drew Hardesty for Sunday, February 14, 2021
DANGEROUS AVALANCHE CONDITIONS WILL EXIST FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS.
The danger is estimated to be HIGH and may rise to EXTREME in some areas in the next day or two.
Natural and human triggered avalanches are expected. Even unusual avalanches are possible in atypical terrain on atypical aspects and elevations.
Travel Advice: Avoid being on or beneath steep slopes.
Low
Moderate
Considerable
High
Extreme
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Avalanche Warning
WARNING ISSUED
THE AVALANCHE DANGER FOR THE WARNING AREA IS HIGH
IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM MST THIS MORNING TO 6 PM MST TUESDAY
FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF MUCH OF THE STATE OF UTAH, INCLUDING THE WASATCH RANGE...BEAR RIVER RANGE...UINTA MOUNTAINS...MANTI-SKYLINE PLATEAU...THE LA SALS AND ABAJOS....THE FISH LAKE REGION…PAHVANTS…TUSHARS…AND THE CEDAR CITY AREA MOUNTAINS.
DANGEROUS AVALANCHE CONDITIONS EXIST. NATURAL AND HUMAN TRIGGERED AVALANCHES ARE LIKELY OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. STAY OFF OF AND OUT FROM UNDER SLOPES STEEPER THAN 30 DEGREES.
Special Announcements
The final report about the Wilson Glade avalanche in Millcreek Canyon has been published. Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and families involved in this tragic accident.
NOTE: FEB 1-8th was one of the deadlier weeks on record with 15 backcountry fatalities in the US.
Dangerous avalanche conditions still exist.
Weather and Snow
Skies are overcast with a few flakes gently falling in the mountains.
Mountain temperatures are in the single digits.
Winds are generally light from the north; however the highest elevations are seeing gusts to 25.

The mountains picked up another 8-12" overnight. Densities are running 5-6%.
Storm totals since Thursday night are now up to 26-32" with snow water equivalents pushing 2.50" in the Cottonwoods. Snow totals are16-20" along the PC ridgeline.
We're not done. The next storm is on tap for tomorrow.

We'll see mostly cloudy skies today with temps in the teens. Northwest winds should increase to 20-25mph by the afternoon, particularly in areas north of I-80.
The next storm arrives tomorrow and will be accompanied by strong northwest winds and the arrival of snowfall on a warming trend. Another 12-18"+ can be expected through Wednesday. Heavy riming is possible.
Recent Avalanches
Something of a natural avalanche cycle occurred in the steepest terrain above Little Cottonwood Canyon yesterday afternoon during higher rates of snowfall. Another interesting indicator avalanche/road cut in LCC - Red's - also ran naturally in the early evening. Elevation 8725' and aspect due south.
Avalanche activity at the resorts included sensitive new snow and wind slab avalanches along with two large explosive triggered avalanches to near the ground 3-5' deep along the north end of the PC ridgeline. These were repeater avalanches (having avalanched earlier this season into old faceted snow) on northeast facing slopes at 9700'.

Our Week in Review - where we highlight significant avalanche and snow events for the past week - is published.
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Avalanche Problem #1
Persistent Weak Layer
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
You can still trigger deep and destructive avalanches 3-5'+ deep and hundreds of feet wide.
Key Information: The most suspect terrain includes mid and upper elevation west to north to southeast facing slopes but I am worried with the recent and expected snowfall and wind that some southerly aspects and lower elevation northerly aspects will also become active. I am uncertain of timing. It may be today, tomorrow, or Tuesday.

These types of avalanches are most pronounced in steep, thin rocky terrain...and areas that have previously avalanched this winter. They may be more prevalent along the the Park City ridgeline, upper Mill Creek, upper American Fork, and the Snake Creek drainages.
Keep in mind:
  • Existing tracks on the slope offer zero signs of stability.
  • Avalanches can be triggered from a distance or below.
  • Any fresh wind slab or new snow avalanche may step down several feet into older snow..
Avalanche Problem #2
New Snow
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
New snow avalanches are possible on all aspects and elevations and will likely get bigger and more active over the next few days. Extreme caution is required.
Lastly, pay attention to cornices. Cornices are developing along many ridgelines and we have seen a few avalanches triggered from cornice falls. Be sure to give cornices a wide berth as they typically break much further back than expected and could trigger a much larger avalanche below.
General Announcements
Please visit this website with information about Responsible Winter Recreation by the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation.

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.