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 April 9, 2006

 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 April 9th 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 the USU Outdoor Recreation Center.

Current Conditions:

Mountain temperatures barely dropped below freezing overnight, and this morning's crust is only superficial.  The snowpack in many areas is quite saturated, and when you hop off your sled or take off your skis, you sink through the mush all the way to the ground at the lower and mid-elevations.  On Logan Peak this morning a sub-20 mph wind is out of the southwest, and it will continue to bring warmth into the region.  We could see some cloudiness today, but the powerful spring sun will be out in force again, and mountain temperatures will approach 50 degrees. 

 Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

I spent the last couple days checking out large natural avalanches in the region, which occurred during Thursday's windy blizzard.  Dry wind-drift avalanches are no longer much of a concern because the warmth quickly settled out Thursday's instabilities, but you might still be able to trigger a lingering rogue wind-slab or two in very steep upper elevation terrain.

Unless you're on top at dawn, today is definitely not the day to hit those big corn lines in the Wellsville Range.  Our biggest concern will be an increasing danger of wet avalanches.  Wet point-release avalanches may start small and then entrain lots of snow as they descend, piling up deeply in deposition zones.  Warming will also increase the danger of wet slab and glide avalanches, since melt water may start pooling on crust layers or the ground, lubricating and weakening potential sliding surfaces. As the melting weakens or softens existing slabs, they may become more sensitive to the influence of our presence, and we are more likely to trigger avalanches.   Yesterday morning, as I crossed the low angled meadows on Maple Bench, I triggered numerous audible collapses or whumphing noises.  I watched bushes 30 feet away shake as the snow around me collapsed under my weight.  On a steeper slope I might have triggered dangerous avalanches.  If you notice the surface snow getting slushy and sticky or you start kicking off snails or roller-balls, it's probably time to head for low angled terrain or back to the spring cleaning.  And, you should definitely not be on any steep slope where you are sinking deeply into cohesion-less or mushy snow.

Bottom Line:

The danger of wet avalanches will rapidly rise to MODERATE with heating this morning.  Today you could trigger avalanches at any elevation on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with saturated snow. Sunny lower and mid-elevation slopes are the most suspect, but upper elevation and normally shady slopes also could become active.  By around midday, the danger in some areas could rise to CONSIDERABLE, especially in places where the snow is generally shallow.  We should avoid and stay out from underneath steep sodden slopes today.

Mountain Weather:

We should see a few  clouds today and very warm temperatures.  This morning's model runs are showing less confidence in tomorrow's storm, and the forecast for Monday is still a bit up in the air.  A comparatively weak cold front will work its way through the region tomorrow and tomorrow night, and we could pick up a few inches of accumulating snowfall.   Another wave of storminess is possible for far northern Utah on Tuesday, after which it will warm back up ahead of another storm scheduled for around Friday.

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.  Dave 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.