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Observation: Moab

Observation Date
1/23/2019
Observer Name
Dave Garcia
Region
Moab
Location Name or Route
Laurel Highway
Weather
Sky
Scattered
Wind Direction
Northwest
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Light snow in the AM at the TH quickly gave way to partly cloudy skies and intermittent sunshine.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
16"
New Snow Density
Low
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments
16 inches of light density snow. Excellent skiing in sheltered terrain. Quick hand pits showed that this storm started with a bit of graupel in the first cm or so.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
The snow came in Monday afternoon/night with lots of wind. This brought another round of natural avalanches. Exxon's, Noriega's, and a new slide in the Lone Pine area as well. Possibly more activity, I'm interested to see other reports. Wind loading occurred on just about every aspect. The SW winds early in the storm loaded Northerly slopes and yesterday we watched the snow plumes blowing into Southerly and Westerly slopes as the NW winds howled in the upper elevations.
Avalanche Problem #1
Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
The 16 inches of new snow is pretty light density. Lots of snow available for transport. Yesterday we hung out on the loop road and watched large snow plumes blowing off the peaks all day. Getting up on the ridge line today one could see fresh drifts just about everywhere. For sure a good day to stick to sheltered terrain.
Avalanche Problem #2
Problem
Persistent Weak Layer
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
The most recent natural cycle is evidence that persistent weak layers are failing under the weight of the new snow and wind load. This was enough info to keep us skiing in green light terrain today. It's worth noting we did not have any collapsing or cracking while breaking trail up the Laurel Highway.
Wind loaded north facing slopes off Tuk and Tuk No.
First photo is Exxon's, second is Norieaga's, and third is a closer look at one of the Noriega slides.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable