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

 November 22, 2006

Hello and happy Thanksgiving, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Wednesday November 22nd, and it's 7:00 in the evening.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with the loyal help of the folks at Import Auto, our trailhead access specialists. 

Current Conditions:

You won't miss a spectacular powder day in the backcountry if you're stuck at home stuffing the turkey.  After more than a week without significant snowfall, the surface conditions are tired and well tracked, and we're not supposed to get much new snow out of the approaching system.  There's 22 inches of settled snow on the ground up at the Tony Grove Snotel site, and my test pits consistently show 3 to 4 feet up in the higher elevation bowls.  Despite the recent balmy weather, the snow on shady slopes is still dry and winter-like. Since we haven't picked up much snow in the last week, you can now see and avoid most of the problem obstacles.  The problem is, a couple inches of fresh snow will barely obscure them again, and you'll have to keep your speed down and your attention level up.

Some folks were able to drive all the way up to Tony Grove Lake in the past couple days, but many who've tried recently ended up pretty well stuck.  The drive will get interesting again tomorrow, as a few inches of snow is forecast to accumulate during Thanksgiving Day.

Avalanche Conditions:

Conditions have been fairly benign this week, with no reported or observed avalanches in the region.  This will change drastically once significant snow comes.  With the seasonally long nights, in spite of the warmish daytime temperatures, weak sugary (or faceted) snow is developing both near the snow surface and in the basal layers. At this point, the Thanksgiving storm doesn't look very productive, with only a couple inches in the forecast.  But westerly winds will build drifts on exposed slopes at upper elevations, and some of these, currently with weak surface snow, may be sensitive to your weight.  As usual, you should avoid steep slopes with significant deposits of wind-drifted snow on them.

 I will be much more concerned when substantially more snow falls, which possibly may be the case early next week.  We'll have to wait and see, but significant snowfall will surely drive up the danger in the backcountry.

Bottom Line:

 With some snowfall and westerly ridge-top winds, the danger of wind slab avalanches might rise to MODERATE, and triggered avalanches may be possible on some steep upper elevation slopes facing north through southeast.  There's a LOW  danger on most other slopes in the Logan Area Backcountry, where avalanches are generally unlikely.

Mountain Weather:

Well, a small storm is better than no storm.  At least we can give thanks for a change in the tropical weather. 2-4 inches of snowfall is forecast during the day, accompanied by moderately strong westerly ridge-top winds.  Some cloudiness is in store for the coming weekend with small amounts of snow possible each day.  A big change is possible on Monday, with some potential for significant accumulation.  But, at this point the models are in serious disagreement on both the timing and the potency of the approaching storm.  It'll certainly be worth watching though.

General Information:

Click here for information on this season's upcoming fundraiser. 

 I will give a free Avalanche Awareness Talk, open to all and sponsored by the USU Free-riders club, at The Directive on 100 East in Logan on Wednesday, December 6th at 6:30. 

I'm back in the office now, and I'll start producing regular advisories this weekend.   I'll be updating my advisories on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and weekend mornings by about 7:00.  You should look for my next scheduled advisory on Saturday morning.  Logan Area advisories will be accessible through the new statewide toll-free avalanche info line; 1-888-999-4019.

If you're confused by some of our avalanche terms check out the cool new Avalanche Encyclopedia.  Please  send backcountry observations to [email protected] or leave us a message at 755-3638, especially if you see or trigger an avalanche in the backcountry.

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.