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Logan area Avalanche advisory

Saturday April 15, 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 Saturday April 15th 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 Voile USA.

Current Conditions:

It feels more like the tropics than the mountains this morning, and it just didn't get cold enough in my book. Temperatures stayed warm and more rain than snow fell on our mountain snow plots overnight.  More rain fell on the western side of the forecast area, with the Snotel site on Ben Lomond Peak showing over a half inch of water in the pail or over an inch of water in less than 2 inches of snow.  It seems a couple inches is common above about 8500',with around 2 inches of accumulation at Tony Grove and a balmy 34 degrees.  

Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

I've been able to find supportable snow at upper elevations in the past couple days, but the snowpack is sodden and saturated throughout in places, especially on shallow mid-elevation slopes.  Observers report fairly widespread natural wet avalanches from this week's warming, with avalanches noted from Wood Camp and Tony Grove.  Yesterday, I noticed a significant natural wet slab avalanche in Rattlesnake Canyon above Wellsville.   I'm not sure when it avalanched, but it looks like the several hundred-foot-wide slab was triggered by cornice fall.  The 2 to 4' deep slab probably failed on the prominent February 28th rain-crust, which may have been lubricated by melt water pooling.

 Rainfall and lack of an overnight re-freeze will only make matters worse. You'll want to stick to areas with supportable snow today, and you should avoid playing on steep slopes with soft saturated snow.   Both easily triggered wet point-release and wet slab avalanches will become more likely as things heat up or more rain falls this weekend.  In addition to steep softening slopes in the heat of the day, you should give monstrous sagging cornices and widening glide cracks lots of respect and space.  It would be unlikely for you to trigger a glide avalanche, but natural glide avalanches are possible this time of year any time of day or night on particular slopes with smooth ground or rock surfaces, which become lubricated by melt-water.  I can only suggest that you stay out of debris collecting gullies and out from under obviously dangerous slopes.

Bottom Line:

Today there's a MODERATE avalanche danger in the backcountry.  You could trigger wet point-release or slab avalanches on saturated slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.   Warmth or continued rainfall could cause a CONSIDERABLE danger in some areas this weekend, and a few significant natural avalanches might occur.

Mountain Weather:

Rain and some snow showers will continue through the weekend, with generally mild temperatures. Southwesterly winds will pick up this afternoon and be somewhat strong tonight.  It'll get colder and a potent winter storm will move into the region on Sunday night.  Snow will fall down to lower elevations 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...

  Sunday April 16th will be our last regularly scheduled advisory.  I'll try to post it by around 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.