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

Sunday March 19, 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 Sunday March 19th 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 Import Auto at 502 W 1400N.

Mountain Weather:

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued a Heavy Snow Warning for the mountains of Northern Utah through early Monday morning.  We could pick up 8 to 16 additional inches of snow by tomorrow morning.  We'll get a short-lived break on Monday before the next productive storm hits Monday night into Tuesday.

Current Conditions:

Several more inches of moist snow fell yesterday and overnight, and the Tony Grove Snotel site recorded 1.5 inches of water equivalency accumulation in the past 48 hours.  With nearly 140 inches of total snow on the ground, the station is reading 151 percent of normal.  The winds continue to be fairly light, as they have been for the last 24 hours.  At the Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan  Peak they're currently out of the east at 8 mph, and it's 17 degrees.

Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, parties throughout the mountains of northern Utah reported numerous sensitive new snow avalanches.  One party in the central Wasatch Range near Salt Lake City reported a large hard slab avalanche triggered by a cornice-fall on an upper elevation north facing slope. The dangerous avalanche, which failed on a weak layer consisting of sugary or faceted snow, was 2 to 3 feet deep and around 300' wide. (see UAC advisory) One local party intentionally triggered several small soft slabs and loose sluffs with cornice drops as they ascended a ridge above Crescent Lake.  The avalanches they triggered were less than a foot deep and involved only new snow; "more fun than dangerous." The group expected and found manageable avalanches upon descent of a steep slope, but one snowboarder in the group triggered and escaped a soft slab containing "a considerable amount of new snow," which surprised him a bit.  I also easily triggered a small soft slab on a steep north facing test slope at mid-elevations in Providence Canyon yesterday evening.

Continuing heavy snowfall is forecast for the region today, and the avalanche danger will rise as the powder piles up.  Fresh soft slabs consisting of the new snow since Friday morning could be considerably deeper today than yesterday, and avalanches are probable on steep slopes, especially during periods of high precipitation intensity.  The weight of the new snow is quickly overloading buried weak layers, and today's load just might be the straw needed to break the camel's back on some steep slopes.  Today is certainly a deep powder day, but it's also a day of elevated danger; a good day to be especially cautious in steep terrain. You should avoid and stay out from under steep slopes and obvious avalanche paths.

This time of year we always have to watch out when new snow is warmed up by the powerful spring sun. This probably won't be a problem until tomorrow, but as soon as the sun peeks out, even for a little while, the new snow will get moist and sloppy quickly on some steep slopes.  Wet, new snow avalanches will become likely in places, especially at lower elevations.

Bottom Line:

Continuing heavy snowfall will cause a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees in the backcountry today.  Triggered avalanches are possible on many steep slopes, and some naturals may spontaneously occur.  Avalanches on a few slopes could step down into buried weak layers and be large and dangerous.

Wet avalanches will be likely on sun-warmed slopes with possible clearing on Monday.

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 Monday morning. I will update it again by Tuesday night or sooner if conditions change.

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.