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

Thursday March 16, 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 Thursday March 16th at 9:30 pm.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from Voile USA.

Current Conditions:

You can find excellent powder conditions in the backcountry, especially on slopes facing the northern half of the compass.  The Snotel site at Tony Grove recorded 1.2 inches of water accumulation in about 14 inches of snowfall on Wednesday.  Friday we'll see some snow up high and a bit of rain down low.

Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

Upper elevation slopes in the region picked up a solid foot of snow early Wednesday morning, and strong winds piled it in deep drifts on lee slopes and into avalanche starting zones.  Initially on Wednesday, conditions were a bit unstable, with a few natural avalanches occurring on steep wind-drifted slopes and reports of triggered audible collapses or woomphing noises.  But the instability settled out of most slopes with time, and by today things felt pretty solid.  I haven't received any reports of backcountry avalanches, and some of you got out onto some big lines today without incident.  The problem is that a southeasterly wind has increased in speed in the last few hours and is now averaging around 25 mph along the ridge-lines.  With plenty of powdery snow to move around, the wind will build new drifts overnight, and some of these could be sensitive to your weight on Friday.  I suspect that drifting will be mostly limited to exposed upper elevation areas near ridge-lines, but I don't like the somewhat unusual easterly component in the wind direction.  Drifts could form in unexpected locations.  Be on the lookout for smooth rounded areas that may have a chalky appearance, and of-coarse you should give obvious deposits of wind-drifted snow some space on steep slopes.

Rain is a possibility below about 7500', and the new snow could get moist and sloppy on some steep lower elevation slopes.  Wet, new snow avalanches are a possibility in places, but at this point it looks like rainfall will not be too heavy.

Bottom Line:

There's a MODERATE  danger and avalanches are possible on some upper elevation wind-drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees in the backcountry.  Rainfall or warm temperatures at lower elevations could cause a MODERATE danger of wet new snow avalanches on some steep slopes with moist surface snow.

Mountain Weather:

We might get a couple inches of snow at upper elevations on Friday and the rain/snow line will be around 7500'.  Unsettled weather will continue through the weekend, but most of the storm energy will probably stay to our south. Even so, snow is in our forecast through Sunday.

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...

 This advisory will expire on Friday night.  I will update it again on Saturday morning by about 7:00 am.

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.