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

Saturday March 18, 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 Saturday March 18th at 7:00 am.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from

Mountain Weather:

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued a Snow Advisory for the mountains of northern Utah through Sunday evening.   A band of heavy precipitation is creeping northward across the Wasatch Range and will bring additional snowfall to the region this morning.  We may get a short break this afternoon, but the main event will start affecting the northern mountains by late afternoon.  This is a complex storm with the potential for very significant accumulations across the state. At this point it still looks like it will hit hardest to our south, but two feet of snowfall in favored upper elevation areas by Sunday evening is a good possibility. 

Current Conditions:

It looks like we may be getting set up for a classic deep powder weekend.  Already, you can find fantastic conditions, with a little buttery heavier new snow on top of bottomless feeling fluff on lots of slopes.  Three or four more inches of somewhat heavy snow fell overnight at the Tony Grove Snotel, bringing the 24 hour water equivalent weight up 7/10ths of an inch in the last 24 hours.  A southwest wind topped out overnight with 20 to 25 mph hourly averages at the CSI weather station on Logan Peak.  But, the winds are diminishing and are forecast to be fairly light this weekend.  Hmmm, heavy snowfall....and light wind....could be an interesting weekend in the backcountry.

Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

This morning I'll be concerned about fresh wind drifts or soft slabs, which may have formed overnight with the somewhat dense new snow.  These won't be too big and will generally be manageable, but it's possible in rare cases that the weight of a small slide overrunning a steep slope could cause a deeper release on buried weak layers.  I'll watch for and avoid wind slabs on steep slopes in exposed terrain today.  We could pick up significant snow this weekend, even at lower elevations, and so far the snow that's falling now is a little heavier than the cold powder that fell last week.  As the snow really starts piling up this evening and tomorrow we'll need to be concerned about potential avalanching, especially during periods of high precipitation rates.  Any steep slope that quickly receives a foot or more of new snow could be a concern, depending on how the slope adjusts to the new load and how slabby the new snow is.  If you're out this weekend when its dumping, keep an eye out for signs of instability like shooting cracks, audible collapses, or recent natural avalanches.

Finally, this time of year we always have to watch out when new snow is warmed up by the powerful spring sun. If the sun peeks out even for a little while this afternoon, the new snow could get moist and sloppy quickly on some steep slopes.  Wet, new snow avalanches are a possibility in places, especially at low elevations.

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. Warm temperatures at lower elevations could cause a MODERATE danger of wet new snow avalanches on some steep slopes with moist or saturated surface snow.   Heavy snowfall will cause a rising avalanche danger this weekend on all steep slopes, and the danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE in some areas overnight.


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 Sunday 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.