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Logan area Avalanche advisory

Sunday March 26, 2006

Good morning, this is Dave Kikkert with the Logan area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory from the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.  It's Sunday March 26th 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.

Current Conditions:

Last night's quick hitting storm dropped about 6-7" of snow in most areas.  Wind's were howling near 50 mph last night but have now quieted down to near 20 mph from the west-northwest.  Temperatures are in the low 20's at 8,000' and the mid-teens above 9,000'.  Today's best turning and riding will be on northerly facing slopes that didn't develop much of a crust yesterday.  Outside of these areas you will probably be able to feel a crust under the new snow.

Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

Today's primary avalanche concern will be wind-slabs formed over the last 24 hours and any that form today.  Yesterday evening the southerly winds howled near 50 mph, which is strong enough to form stiff wind-drifts near exposed ridgelines and also around terrain features such as sub-ridges and gully walls.  After snowfall began, winds continued strong from the southwest and then the west for 2 hours before settling in near 20 mph from the northwest.  This combination of wind and snow will have created sensitive wind-drifts on a wide range of slopes.  In addition to forming fresh wind-drifts, the new snow will also have covered many of the wind-slabs formed yesterday, making them hard to recognize.  The highest avalanche danger will be on slopes that received the double-whammy of wind-loading from the pre-storm winds combined with significant amounts of new wind-drifted snow.    In such areas avalanches could be larger and more dangerous with the possibility of stepping down to buried weak layers.  I will be particularly cautious of easterly and northeasterly facing slopes that would have been loaded by the southwest, northwest, and now westerly winds.  If the strong spring sun gets out today the danger of wet avalanches will rise on any slopes where the new snow gets damp. 

Bottom Line:

There's a MODERATE danger and avalanches are possible on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind-drifted snow and on steep slopes with damp new snow.  On steep wind-exposed upper elevations slopes that received the largest amounts new snow there is a CONSIDERABLE danger with larger avalanches possible.

Mountain Weather:

It still appears to be lightly snowing this morning with an additional inch or so possible before things wrap up by mid-morning.  Skies will be mostly cloudy this morning, clearing up by afternoon as high pressure settles in for tomorrow.  High temperatures are forecast to be near 30 degrees at 8,000' with a west wind near 20 mph.  Monday should be clear and warmer with light to moderate southwest winds.

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 by tomorrow morning.  I will update it again Monday evening.

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.