Observation: Moab

Observation Date
Observer Name
R. Kennard


Location Name or Route
Laurel Highway
Light Snowfall
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Seems like we're still in the midst of our most recent storm cycle. Temps were in the upper 20's with light winds and intermittent snowfall. It felt significantly colder at the top of the north woods today. I'm sure the increased ridge top winds contributed to that providing a little extra wind chill. The visibility today was not fantastic, but what glimpse I did get of the high peaks showed signs of heavy wind scouring again. By the time I was driving down the loop road it looked like Gold Basin was fully engulfed in another round of snow.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
The snow depth varied widely from the parking lot to the top of the northwoods. Their was about 4" on the road just past the parking lot, 8" in the Laurel Meadows, and 12" plus at upper elevations. It was also evident that the winds from yesterday and today had moved some of the new snow around and you could find 18" to 24" drifts right next to areas of 3" to 4" sitting on to of the "styrofoam" snow. The snow that fell with this last storm was the light fluffy low density Utah powder that, up until this year, was the norm for our mid winter snow storms. The new snow felt like it had bonded pretty well to the existing snow pack. The Gold Basin snow stake was at a strong 57" and the storm board was showing 9".
Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Poor Snowpack Structure
Red Flags Comments
As I mentioned above it was obvious that the winds had been active during this last round of storms and like usual I would expect to find some newly formed wind slabs on the lee side of ridges and terrain features. The Facets that Dave Garcia found yesterday are still down sitting below the "styrofoam" snow. The winds were strong enough to form a new large cornice on the north side of Noriega's .
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Slab
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Their were plenty of signs of cross loading and active winds from this last storm. along the ridge we found plenty of new formed and forming wind slabs up to 2 feet deep. I would expect to find larger wind slabs on the lee side of exposed ridges and terrain features where their were no trees to buffer the winds. With the expected new snow coming in over night these soft wind slabs should be something to be on the look out for, especially if the winds pick up overnight.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Slab
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
It appears that we have any interesting snow pack right now. The snow that just fell is low density powder. This fell on top of the very dense snow that fell earlier in the week, and below this dense layer their are some very large facets. The snow pack does not seem that reactive right now to the new weight on top. No one that I talked to today had felt any whumphing or settling, but if you happen to find the sweet spot on a steeper slope you could trigger a slide. Also if we get the 10" to 20" possible from this next round the dense layer may not be able to support the new snow load or the added weight of a skier.
Not bad for mid January!
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Snow Profile Coordinates