Wasatch-Cache National Forest  In partnership with:  Utah State Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan, and Utah State University College of Natural Resources.


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Logan area Avalanche advisory

Tuesday January 10, 2006

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Tuesday January 10th at 9:00 pm.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from Simmons Flexi-ski of Providence.

Mountain Weather:

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued a Winter Storm Warning for all the mountains of northern Utah through 11:00 Thursday morning.  The warning states, "Snow, heavy at times will continue Wednesday into Wednesday night. West winds at speeds of 20-40 mph with higher gusts over the ridges will cause considerable blowing and drifting snow...Total snow accumulations of 5-12 inches are expected in the Bear River Valley and 10-20 inches in the mountains.  Areas that favor westerly flow could receive up to 3 feet of new snow."  The winds on Logan Peak averaged in the 30s and 40s today, and temperatures are on the rise ahead of the incoming storm.  It looks like an extra pair of goggles might be a good call for Wednesday.

Avalanche Conditions:

Both yesterday and today, cutting-edge snowboarders triggered small slab avalanches near Tony Grove Lake on very steep slopes.  Saturday night's snow didn't stick very well to last week's sun-crust, and even with stabilizing conditions today, it was easy to trigger new snow avalanches, generally less than a foot deep.  I am concerned that future avalanches may also run on this widespread slick sun-crust, which makes a great sliding surface.       (see my Fracture Profile.)

Overnight, heavy snowfall and high winds will quickly build sensitive drifts on lee slopes and avalanche starting zones, and the avalanche danger will rise throughout Wednesday as the storm only intensifies.  Wednesday morning's localized wind-drift avalanches will be fairly small and relatively harmless unless they knock you off a cliff or into a tree.  But the storm will enlarge the drifts, and by midday or early afternoon you might be able to trigger bigger, more dangerous avalanches.  The avalanche problem will likely also be more widespread by afternoon.  During periods of heavy snowfall, westerly winds will deposit great gobs of snow onto east facing or lee slopes.  The wind will also cross-load snow onto north and south facing slopes especially in fetch areas like sub-ridges and gullies or near tree-lines and rock-bands.  You'll want to avoid deepening drifts and wind-deposited snow on steep slopes.  Also be wary of rapidly building cornices, which could break farther back than you expect.

Bottom Line:

Wednesday morning you'll find a MODERATE  danger of new snow avalanches on wind-drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.   Wind-drift avalanches will be possible on some slopes and are likely to be increasingly large and more widespread with continued heavy snowfall and high winds throughout the day.  By afternoon, significant deposits of new snow may cause the danger in the backcountry to increase to CONSIDERABLEwith avalanches possible on many slopes.

General Information: 

 For a list of our upcoming classes and awareness talks, go to our Education page . For a list of recent avalanches in  the regional backcountry go to Avalanche List.  Snow nerds, check out the new Snow Profiles page.  You may enjoy our Images Page.

Please send backcountry observations to [email protected] or leave a message at 755-3638, especially if you see or trigger an avalanche in the backcountry. We really want to hear from you, even if you think your observation is unimportant.    The information you provide may save lives...

This advisory will expire tomorrow night.  I will update it again on Thursday night.

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. 


National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.