11th Annual Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop Open and Motorized Sessions Oct. 27th.
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Observation Date: 
11/27/2016
Observer Name: 
Toddeo
Region: 
Southwest
Location Name or Route: 
Tushers - Puffer Lake to Big Flat
Weather
Sky: 
Obscured
Precipitation: 
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Direction: 
South
Wind Speed: 
Strong
Weather Comments: 
Wow, real winter day. Heavy snow (S 5-10) up tp 3 in/hr, about as hard as it ever snows. Wind was moving snow below treeline.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth: 
18"
New Snow Density: 
Medium
Snow Surface Conditions: 
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments: 

18" seems about right, snotel confirms this.  There was close to a foot when I arrived at Puffer Lake and an honest 8" in my tire tracks when I left 3 hours later.  About a foot on the road while leaving.  2' on the road when I arrived and it had been plowed less than an hour before that. 

A combination of rimed dendrites, dendrites, pellets, needles and graupel, all of the above.  Right side up, storm started dense.

Red Flags
Red Flags: 
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Cracking
Collapsing
Poor Snowpack Structure
Avalanche Problem #1
Type: 
New Snow
Trend: 
Same
Problem #1 Comments: 

I stayed mostly in sheltered areas, the primary hazard will be in the new snow.  Storm slab is up to 18" thick as of 1-2 pm today.

Considerable hazard.

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

This wold have been #1 if I was in wind exposed areas,

Considerable hazard.  Increasing as the wind and snow continues.

I would also add normal caution for a thin snow pack.

Snow Profile
Aspect: 
Southeast
Elevation: 
10300
Slope Angle: 
10
Comments: 

HS = 24" 

About 7" of 2mm loose facets sitting on the ground capped by a weak crust (rain?).  The overlying storm snow (HST=16") is divided by ski pole into the basal 6" 4 finger density early portion of the storm (last night) and the upper 10" fist density portion which fell this morning.

Of interest is a reminder that at the high elevations of the Tushers, snow also facets on sunny aspects.

Photo below is a profile on a wind exposed road cut directly above a 40' wide series of natural cracks that did not run.  facets are obvious....Storm snow is about 10-12" here, northwest aspect at 9,800'

Big Flat Snotel HS=27 at 2 pm.

2 photos below of cracking in the new snow.  

Snowfall was impressive and will settle out to a great early season base.  Drive down Beaver Canyon was exciting with a foot of snow on the road!  Photo below is at the pass (10,000') 4 hours after the road was plowed, deep driving but a heck of a lot safer than the drive back to Fillmore on I-15!

I would expect a natural cycle in the alpine where there is enough snow.  Things looked pretty scoured yesterday.

Overall a considerable hazard.  Any avalanche will likley run to the ground.

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