Observation: Thomas Fork

Observation Date
2/9/2019
Observer Name
Nathan Chaszeyka
Region
Salt Lake
Location Name or Route
Thomas Fork
Weather
Sky
Broken
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Light
Weather Comments
Increasing clouds and wind throughout the day as the next front approached.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
The storm snow has settled out quickly with assistance from the winds and is surprisingly dense in many locations. Excellent skiing conditions could still be found but they were interspersed with wind affected snow and variable, settled, storm snow. In low angle terrain this made things challenging at times. Is there such thing as too much snow?
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Wind Loading
Cracking
Red Flags Comments
Wind loading and wind slab formation was noted on many aspects and deterred us from our primary and ultimately secondary terrain choices. We were hoping on an outside chance that this area may have been less affected by the winds but they seem to have made their way into every nook and cranny. We also noted cracking on a number of aspects from W to NE. These cracks didn't seem to be carrying energy and shooting out, but we became guarded about the potential. A minor cornice fall, and also a small loose snow avalanche off of a rock wall were noted during our travels.
Avalanche Problem #1
Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
The wind loading remains an issue. With another series of storms approaching and many sensitive wind slabs remaining, this problem is sure to be on the rise again soon. The potential size of the avalanches may increase as well, possibly stepping down into snow from the last storm. At the start of the day the ridges above us appeared to be getting wind but snow transport was not visible. We watched the winds pick up along the ridges and begin moving snow as day continued. 
Avalanche Problem #2
Problem
Cornice
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
Cornice formations were visible above many of the chutes and ridges in Thomas Fork. Most were overhanging North to Northeast aspects. We noted one cornice fall that had rolled a long way down Hobbs Chute. The continued winds and additional new snow available for transport will have these cornices continue to grow and gain potential for failure. 
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Considerable

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