Forecast for the Uintas Area Mountains
Issued by Craig Gordon for Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 3:08am
Other than a few shallow drifts lingering along the leeward side of upper elevation ridges in the wind zone, the danger of dry avalanches is generally LOW.
If the sun comes out for any length of time, the danger of wet avalanches may quickly rise to MODERATE on all steep, sun-exposed slopes.
Learn how to read the forecast here
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Tomorrow.... Sunday, April 14th will be the last of our regularly scheduled Uinta forecasts.
Weather and Snow
Yesterday's early morning storm instantly blossomed right around 4:30 AM, rapidly laying down 4" of medium density snow in about 90 minutes. With a moist northwest flow overhead, yet another fast moving system is materializing as I type this forecast and should produce a couple additional inches of snow before dawn. Currently, temperatures are in the teens and winds are light and northerly, blowing less than 20 mph. On a phat, white, go-anywhere base, riding and turning conditions remain quite good, especially on mid elevation wind sheltered slopes.
Above... hourly temps, snow, and water totals from Chalk Creek (9,169')
Looks like some network issues, so... no updated winds from the Uinta's. Above is representative wind data from our nearby neighbors in the Wasatch.
To view more regional weather stations click here.
Northerly winds blew upslope on Thursday, essentially throwing a cargo net over large swaths of open terrain like in the image above.
While not particularly widespread, on Thursday Michael J noted.... "My stability tests showed a weak layer about 4 inches below the melt-freeze crust but my ECT failed to propagate. On my way out I was kicking some new snow off a cornice and was caught by surprise when the old snow failed behind my feet." More on Micheal's travels in Weber Canyon are found here.
No significant avalanche activity to report from yesterday, but visibility was hit or miss. The image above illustrates the new snow/old snow layering Ted found during the storm on the North Slope in wind sheltered terrain.
Recent trip reports and avy activity found HERE.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
While the vast majority of wind drifted slopes throughout the region are relaxed and comfortable in their own skin, as you know, the Uinta's are a big range and there may still be a few lingering drifts that'll react to our additional weight. Found mostly on upper elevation leeward slopes facing the south half of the compass, there may also be a rogue drift or two cross-loaded in and around terrain features like chutes or gully walls. The good news is... this avalanche problem is easily avoidable by simply losing a little elevation and steering yourself towards wind sheltered terrain, where you'll find soft creamy snow and a more predictable avalanche hazard.
It's triple overhead in some places.... recent winds coupled with fresh snow will add yet another layer to our already ginormous, ridgeline cornice formations. Breaking further back than you might expect, you'll definitely wanna give these large, unpredictable pieces of snow the respect they deserve and not ruin someones day below by inadvertently knocking a boxcar size piece of snow down on them.
Avalanche Problem #2
If the sun comes out for any length of time, expect the danger of wet avalanches to rapidly rise. Be aware that once triggered, even a small slide can fan out, entraining more snow as it slowly descends a steep slope, eventually conspiring against us to pile up cement-like, bone snapping avalanche debris. Putting it all together, you'll want to think about your travel plans and remember to avoid terrain traps like gullies and road cuts where avalanche debris can stack up very deeply.
Here's a great viddy describing a myriad of spring snow avalanche conditions.
Today we can expect a few early morning snow showers, and then a break later this morning through the afternoon. High temperatures climb into the 30's and northwest winds blow in the 20's and 30's along the high peaks. Clouds increase late in the day, overnight low dip into the 20's, and a warming trend is expected tomorrow along with strong southerly winds. Several storms are lined up, although the first one arriving late Sunday looks rather weak. Expect a stronger system to slide into the region Monday night into Wednesday morning, bringing a good shot of snow and colder temperatures.
The information in this advisory expires 24 hours after the date and time posted, but will be updated by 7:00 AM Sunday April 14th, 2019.
If you're getting out and about, please let me know what you're seeing especially if you see or trigger and avalanche. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-231-2170
It's also a good time to set up one of our very popular avalanche awareness classes. Reach out to me and I'll make it happen.
This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.