Observation: Moab

Observation Date
2/6/2019
Observer Name
Dave Garcia
Region
Moab
Location Name or Route
Laurel Highway
Weather
Sky
Obscured
Precipitation
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
A very cold day in the La Sals. Temps remained in the single digits all day. At least the winds backed off a bit from last night. They were light to moderate on the ridge lines. Snowfall was intermittent throughout the day. We encountered very heavy snowfall on the drive down. Looks like Gold Basin has picked up 4 inches in the last 3 1/2 hours.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
6"
New Snow Density
High
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Dense Loose
Snow Characteristics Comments
It was hard to gauge the depth of the new snow, because the winds have been absolutely nuking throughout the storm. The depth on sheltered, mid elevation slopes was about ten inches including the totals from yesterday. The snow has come in heavy and wind driven. Dense surfy pow that keeps you on top. 
Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
To my surprise today we didn't experience any cracking, collapsing, or instabilities within the new snow. Blocks cut out with ski poles would fall apart, rather than pull out as a cohesive slab. Snow totals aren't alarmingly high, but strong SW winds have been doing a great job of adding snow to N and E facing slopes.
Avalanche Problem #1
Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Trend
Same
Problem #1 Comments
Three straight days of winds averaging 25 - 30 and gusts as high as 60. South and West faces are heavily scoured. We skinned up West facing Julies and it was almost completely scoured. Looking at Julie's, you would have no idea it snowed 16 inches since Sunday. Also, on our last lap through the North Woods, I skied along the side of the Funnel to have a look in there, and the SW faces are completely stripped of snow. You can guess where all that snow is. North and East aspects are freshly loaded and dangerous right now. 
Avalanche Problem #2
Problem
Persistent Weak Layer
Trend
Same
Problem #2 Comments
Way too cold to dig any pits today. We didn't see any natural activity. Visibility was limited, but we did get eyes on Norieaga's, Exxon's, and Coyote. 16 inches since Sunday is a pretty good load on these layers and there's more in the forecast. Over the next few days I would expect buried persistent weak layers to be reactive to stability testing.
Comments
I agree with the high danger today, if the winds stay calm and the snow tapers off, tomorrow could drop to considerable. In other news travel on the Geyser Pass Road is extremely difficult right now with deep drifts all over.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
High
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable

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