11th Annual Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop Open and Motorized Sessions Oct. 27th.
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Observation Date: 
1/24/2016
Observer Name: 
Brett Kobernik
Location Name or Route: 
Spring City Canyon & Fairview-Huntington Canyons
Weather
Sky: 
Overcast
Precipitation: 
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction: 
Northwest
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Weather Comments: 
Periods of snow still occurring late in the day. Wind speeds were not real strong but certainly enough to transport snow. Huntington Canyon and the Miller Flat area were receiving a stronger impulse of snow when I left at 6pm. More so than the Fairview side at that time.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth: 
12"
New Snow Density: 
Low
Snow Surface Conditions: 
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments: 

Fairview Canyon, Miller Flat and Huntington Canyon near Electric Lake all picked up about 12" of new snow.

Spring City Canyon had no less than 18" when I left at 5pm.  Snotel Stations in Ephraim also have bumped up in total snow depth by 17".

Farther south, the Mt Baldy Snotel site has increased by 14".

In areas where the old snow surface was still soft and with the addition of the new snow things feel insanely DEEP!

Red Flags
Red Flags: 
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Avalanche Problem #1
Type: 
Deep Slab
Trend: 
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments: 

Hard to pinpoint the biggest concern out there right now.  I guess the scariest thing to me is the chance of triggering an avalanche that breaks into deeply buried weak layers.  Wind loading will certainly enhance the chances of this.  There are still lots of areas that have a shallow and weak snowpack where a fresh wind load will make things dangerous.

The condition of the snow near the ground is unknown in avalanche paths that have already avalanched earlier this winter.  There is a good chance that there is weak sugary faceted snow present near the ground in these paths.  Many of them are now loaded back in enough where they could avalanche again.

Some areas now have a deep enough snowpack where the old weak snow is gaining strength and probably won't avalanche at this point. 

The biggest problem is distinguishing between shallow areas, areas that have already avalanched and areas where the pack is strong.  The only real choice is to let this storm do it's thing and avoid the steep slopes for a bit.

Avalanche Problem #2
Type: 
Wind Drifted Snow
Trend: 
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments: 

I was not able to prod at many wind affected areas today to get a feel of how sensitive they are.  The new snow alone out of wind affected areas was well behaved and seemed stable.  However, there was enough evidence for me to see that there are some large new drifts and these needed to be treated as suspect on Monday.  If the wind does increase, this problem will obviously be enhanced.

Comments: 

Notes on Huntington Canyon:

The northwest wind again mostly scoured and cross loaded the big road cut slide paths near the Electric Lake Dam.  I guess I wouldn't be surprised if some small pockets released but they shouldn't pose much threat.

There is enough new snow and wind where I'd expect some more natural activity breaking into the weak basal facets around the Chute Camp Site area again.  These might hit the river but probably won't be big enough to threaten the road.

Farther down the canyon, some of the paths just above the Forks of the Huntington most likely have enough snow now that they should be monitored from here on out.  I'll be traveling to Price on Monday afternoon so I'll have a good look at these then.

Below is a picture of my machine parked on the Spring City canyon road which was packed flat by snowmobiles prior to this storm.  This clearly shows how much snow we've received in the last 24 hours.

I believe that I under-forecast the avalanche danger today.  Snow totals far exceeded what I expected.  I'm guessing as I write this at 8pm, the avalanche danger is at it's apex.  With all the unknowns in the snowpack and the possibility of a bump in wind speed into Monday, I am strongly considering issuing an AVALANCHE WARNING for Monday.  

Today's Observed Danger Rating: 
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating: 
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates: 
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