Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Trent Meisenheimer
Issued by Trent Meisenheimer for
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on upper elevation steep slopes facing north, northeast, east, southeast, and south for triggering shallow drifts of windblown snow. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully and be on the lookout for slopes being loaded by the wind and avoid those areas.
If we see more snow than expected this afternoon, sluffing is likely in the steeper terrain...and may run naturally during periods of heavy snowfall.

Keep in mind that closed ski resorts are performing no avalanche control work and must be treated as the backcountry.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
UAC operating schedule - We will continue issuing regular avalanche forecasts into mid-April.
Spring Awareness Campaign - The UAC counts on donations from the backcountry community. We know these are uncertain times, and any donation during our awareness campaign will help us continue providing avalanche forecasting and education.
CDC Guidelines - Even in the backcountry and in parking lots, please follow CDC guidelines like limiting group size and keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from other people to protect yourself and others. Read the guidelines HERE.
Taking risks - Be extra conservative to avoid the risk of accidents, which can stress the capacity of our medical system.
Skiing and riding at closed ski resorts - Some resorts allow access now, and some do not. Please check HERE for the latest info on ski area access.
New to the backcountry (including riding at closed resorts) - Watch the award-winning, 15 minute Know Before You Go video, or take the 5-part, free online-learning series.
Weather and Snow
Under partly cloudy skies, the mountain temperatures are in the mid to low 20's °F at all elevations above about 7,000'. Winds are currently blowing from the west-south-west at 10-15 mph gusting to 25-35 mph across many of the upper elevation ridgelines. At 11,000' it's a different story where the west wind is blowing 40 mph gusting to 60. Yesterday, a trace to 3" (0.45" h20) of new snow was reported in the Wasatch mountains.
For today, we can expect increasing clouds in the afternoon with some scattered snow showers at times. It's possible to see 2-4" of new snow by 6:00 pm tonight. Winds will stay from the westerly direction and will continue to blow 15-25 mph at the upper elevations and may increase later this afternoon. Tonight, the first piece of a long duration storm will move into the northern mountains with heavy snowfall in the overnight hours. This storm will continue through Thursday, bringing mountain snow and colder temperatures. By Friday morning, we could see 18-24" of new snow.
Recent Avalanches
No major avalanche activity was reported from the backcountry yesterday. You can see all backcountry observations HERE.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Westerly winds have increased ahead of an incoming storm system, and are currently blowing 15-25 mph across the upper elevation terrain. Even though there is very little snow to transport, I would expect the wind has made some new shallow drifts of wind-blown snow. These shallow wind slabs will be most pronounced on steep slopes facing north, northeast, east, southeast, and south as the wind strips snow from one aspect and loads it onto another.
As always, be on the lookout for snow that is being affected by the wind and avoid those areas. Wind effected snow often looks wavy, rounded, pillowy, and can sound hollow when walking or riding on it.
If for some odd chance, it starts to snow earlier than expected, then it's time to shift our focus on the new snow as well. It would only take a few inches of heavy snowfall to start seeing the loose snow move around on steep slopes. Its spring and weather can change rapidly, as well as the avalanche danger. Always be updating your personal forecast and re-evaluate the snow as you travel.
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.