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 February 14, 2006

Hello and happy Valentine's Day, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Tuesday February 14th 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 has issued a Snow Advisory until early Thursday morning.  Light snow will develop over the mountains tonight and intensify on Wednesday as the coldest air of the year heads in our direction.  A building low-pressure system, centered over Nevada, will drive tons of Pacific moisture-laden air head-on into the incoming cold air.  Driving could be treacherous because it  will snow heavily, even at lower elevations.  8 to 15 inches of accumulation is forecast for the upper elevations by Thursday morning, and there's potential for more.  With fairly cold temperatures, the snow will likely be of the type that makes Utah famous; super light and fluffy.  South winds tomorrow should be in the twenties along the ridge-tops, and it will stay pretty cold, with mountain high temperatures in the teens.  Temperatures will plummet to well below zero Fahrenheit and snowfall should continue through Wednesday night.  Another storm is due about Sunday.

Current Conditions:

The fresh powder will be falling on a wide variety of tired old snow surfaces, including some weak sugary snow that is likely to cause future avalanche problems. Many of the more popular slopes in the region are quite tracked up.  Many others sport solid or somewhat breakable sun-crusts.  High northerly winds from the end of last week scoured, crusted, or built solid drifts on exposed slopes across the region.  For those of us in search of soft untracked snow, the choices are now greatly limited.  Conditions most certainly could use a good refreshing, and even a modest snowfall is most welcome.  You'll probably be riding in deepening light powder on Wednesday, but initially you'll feel the old snow surface underneath you on most slopes.   Don't forget the extra goggles...

Avalanche Conditions:

Avalanches will still be unlikely tomorrow morning, but will become possible on some slopes by afternoon with significant accumulations and wind-drifting.  As is the case with any storm, wind is the wildcard.  In this case, southerly winds in the twenties are forecast.  My concern is even a moderate wind will easily be strong enough to build sensitive drifts out of the gobs of light powder snow.  Early on, new snow avalanches or sluffs are likely to be fairly small and in most cases manageable.  In other words, on some slopes you may be able to trigger small avalanches easily from above, and they'll most likely flow around you harmlessly.  Your main worry might be getting washed over a cliff or into an unforgiving obstacle like a rock or a tree.  But by later in the day, heavy snowfall and/or higher than forecast winds could cause the danger to rise, and bigger more dangerous new snow avalanches will be possible on more numerous wind-drifted steep slopes in the region.

Bottom Line:

Avalanches will still be unlikely on Wednesday morning, and the danger is LOW.   As snow piles up during the day, the danger will rise to MODERATE.   New snow avalanches will become possible on wind-drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.

General Information: 

We will offer a free avalanche awareness talk, open to the public, at the Directive on Wednesday evening, February 15th at 7:00.

For a list of recent avalanches in  the regional backcountry go to Avalanche List.  Snow nerds, check out the new Snow Profiles page.  Check out our Images Page for pictures of recent local avalanches.

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 Wednesday night, but 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.