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Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Issued by Trent Meisenheimer for Monday, April 15, 2019 - 5:16am
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 deeper and more dangerous slabs of snow throughout the day across specific terrain features and human triggered avalanches are possible.
At the low to mid elevations it's raining and you will find damp, wet, soggy snow; along with a MODERATE danger for wet snow avalanches.

Evelyn Lees will be updating the Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo forecast Tuesday morning (April 16 th) by 7:30 am.
Low
Moderate
Considerable
High
Extreme
Learn how to read the forecast here
Special Announcements
Winter's not stopping, and neither are we! More snow = more forecasts through April 21st. We'll be doing early morning online forecasts for Ogden, Salt Lake and Provo most days this week, and definitely on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Easter weekend (April 19-21). Check the Bottom Line each day for the time of the next up date. We will continue posting observations every day this week.
Weather and Snow
"If you want to see the sunshine you'll have to weather the storm." For those of us not wanting to see the sun, the storm is on our doorstep and it should start raining/snowing soon...
Under mostly cloudy skies the overnight temps (< 9,000') bottomed out at 32-35 °F at almost all stations across the range. Above 10,000' temperatures hovered around 30 °F. We picked up a trace to 3" of new snow above about 9,000' in the past 24 hrs. The west-south-west winds have continued and overnight there was a gust to 60 mph at 11,000'. Lower down at 10,000' the winds are currently blowing 15-20 mph gusting into the 30's and 40's.
For today we can expect the rain/snow line to be 8,000' rising to 9,000' by 5:00 pm. We should see 3-6" of new snow with the possibility of more in favored locations throughout the day; periods of strong precipitation intensity are possible. Winds will remain from the west-south-west and are forecasted to be 15-25 mph gusting into the 30's and 40's at upper elevations. The stronger storm will move overhead late this evening bringing the rain/snow line down and we will see snow throughout the day on Tuesday with instability lingering into Wednesday with storm totals forecasted at 12"-18" of new snow.
Recent Avalanches
Yesterday, many backcountry observers reported strong green housing (heating) on all aspects and elevations. Roller balls and small loose wet avalanches were the common theme. Reports of glide cracks in the common areas are opening and growing in size; see a great observation HERE. You can see all observations HERE.
Video: Dave Coyne; wet loose avalanche from Kessler Peak in Big Cottonwood yesterday. This was a northerly facing slope at 8,700' in elevation.
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Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
The southerly wind continues to blow at speeds of 15-25 mph across the upper elevation ridge lines. Look for and avoid smooth, rounded, hollow sounding snow on all steep slopes at the upper elevations. Cracks shooting away from you are a huge red flag. The longer the crack, the more dangerous.
  • If I was heading to upper elevation terrain today; this would be the problem I would be most concerned with.
Avalanche Problem #2
New Snow
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
With 3-6" of new snow forecasted I would expect periods of heavy snow at times with spikes of instability when the snow shower is passing overhead. Most of the warm new snow should bond to the older surfaces. However, it's best to use slope cutting techniques and terrain management skills to your advantage. Using small, steep test slopes (slopes not large enough to bury you) are a great way to test how the new snow is behaving before committing to slopes large enough to bury you.
Avalanche Problem #3
Wet Snow
Type
Location
Likelihood
Size
Description
The rain/snow line is forecasted to be between 8,000'-9,000' feet in elevation today. This along with last nights poor re-freeze of the snowpack, I would expect the snow surface below about 9,000' to be damp, wet and soggy. Wet loose avalanches will be easy to initiate in all steep terrain below about 9,000'. Watch your slope angles when descending from the upper elevation dry snow. I would not recommend being in steep chutes and gullies at the mid and lower elevations today. Natural and human triggered slides are possible.
Glide cracks have been spotted in many of the classic places one could expect. These glide cracks are growing and at random the entire snowpack can come crashing down. If you're unfamiliar with Glide Avalanches please take the time to learn about them HERE. We have a few common drainages where we see these happen every year. Feel free to call the office and I can talk about this problem and the common places to avoid.
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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