Observation: Moab

Observation Date
Observer Name
Tim Matthews
Location Name or Route
Laurel Highway to North Woods.
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Few clouds in the sky today and barely a breeze to be had. With as cold as the temps remained it's nice the wind wasn't blowing.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
The newest snow from Wednesday morning and night has remaind cold and fluffy on the polar aspects while solar aspects today with any pitch started to get damp. Likley will have a crust on due South tomorrow.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Recent Avalanches
Rapid Warming
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
The most recent natural avalanches that I could spot most likely happened during the high PI rates of Wednesday mornings storm, or from the round of snow that fell Wednesday night. Some crowns looked to have refilled a bit while others looked more fresh. The largest I spotted I would call a D2. A D2 is large enough to bury, injury, or kill a human. I experienced most of the collapsing in sheltered terrain in the trees. The new storm snow sitting on top of the near surface facets from our 6 weeks of high pressure. Shooting cracks were quite shallow in my travels today, but some were as long as 100'. I plugged in rapid warming on due south aspects because as I was existing at 1300 the south at 10K was getting quite damp and loosing any cohesion it might have had. In steeper south facing terrain I wouldn't be surprised to see some wet loose avalanches. It's almost March and the sun is much more intense. Low temps, but lack of any wind to help keep the surface snow cooler the sun had it's way.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Problem #1 Comments
Didn't make it up to any steep loaded starting zones, but I didnt want to either. Just above tree line I could feel the density of the snow change under my skies, and even in some burnt areas near tree line where previous winds had slabbed up the low density powder. I jumped on a pocket of wind drifted snow that formed around a large tree that had a almost cornice like feature to it. It failed pretty easily.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
Problem #2 Comments
We just added 2+" of water to a bunch of near surface facets that formed during our 6 weeks of high pressure. These facets can be found most easily in terrain that faces NW-N-E at all elevations, but I'd be most concerned with the terrain above tree line, or steep wooded terrain near tree line. The terrain above tree line most likely is were you will find facet crust facet sandwiches with a more stout slab on top from wind drifted snow. These slabs will be stronger and more connected and produce larger avalanches. In the more sheltered and wooded terrain below tree line is where you will likely find more continuious facets that are now buried. With an overall softer slab on top of the now buried facets these avalanches will likely be small, but failing in terrain traps such as trees.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating