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

Special update

Thursday March 9, 2006

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Thursday March 9th at 7:00 am. 

Current Conditions:

Heavy snow is falling in the mountains this morning, and southwest winds picked up significantly overnight.  The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a Snow Advisory for the region through 4:00 this afternoon.  Snowfall will be heavy at times through the morning hours and then turn showery this afternoon. The Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak shows hourly average wind-speeds approaching 30 mph from the southwest.  At 5:00 this morning, it's snowing in Logan, and a couple inches have already fallen in the mountains, with the Tony Grove Snotel reporting 2/10ths of an inch of water and 20 degrees.

Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

You should suspect an increasing avalanche danger whenever heavy snowfall is accompanied by strong winds.  Today the most intense part of the storm will affect the area during the middle part of the day, right when you are likely to be in avalanche terrain.  Soft slab avalanches are common during periods of high precipitation intensity. The snowpack just doesn't have time to adjust to the rapidly accumulating weight of the new snow. Fairly strong southwest winds will further complicate things today, by drifting the new powder onto lee slopes and fetch areas near terrain features like gullies, rock outcroppings, and sub-ridges.  Furthermore, in times of heavy snowfall and strong winds, drifting can occur over broad areas and well off ridge-lines.  So, certain slopes may receive significantly more snow than others based on wind speed and direction.  Remember, even snow that feels like light powder can form a cohesive slab and avalanche as a unit.  Powder avalanches can sometimes pick up considerable speed and impact force.  Today's new load of snow will rapidly add weight to developing slabs, which on some slopes are building above buried weak layers.  Although most of today's avalanches will probably involve only the new snow, some could step down into older layers, and these could be significantly larger and more dangerous.

If you do decide to head out into the backcountry today, you will need to be on top of your game.  The danger will be more pronounced at upper elevations and on wind-drifted slopes facing northwest through southeast, but avalanches are possible today on any steep slope with significant deposits of new snow.  With today's elevated danger, you should avoid all wind-drifted slopes and stay out from under steep slopes and obvious avalanche paths. Watch for signs of instability like cracking or collapsing, or the most obvious sign, recent nearby avalanches.  I'd sure like to hear from you if you do go out, so please e-mail or call in backcountry observations.

Bottom Line:

There's a CONSIDERABLE danger and avalanches are possible on numerous slopes steeper than about 35 degrees in the backcountry.  You should avoid wind-drifted slopes, and be wary of possible natural avalanches from above, particularly during periods of heavy snowfall. 

Mountain Weather:

We could get pick up a quick foot of new snow today in favored locations, but the fast-moving storm will move off to the south and snowfall will become showery this afternoon. A trough of low pressure will be over the western states and we'll see wintery unsettled weather through the weekend.  The next wave of storminess is due on about Saturday.

General Information: 

If you're confused by some of our avalanche terms check out the cool new Avalanche Encyclopedia

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...

 I will update this advisory tonight.

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.