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Utah Avalanche Center in Logan

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 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

We've continued an Avalanche Warning for the backcountry in all the Mountains of Utah.  Recent heavy snowfall and strong winds have overloaded numerous slopes with very weak existing snow, and human-triggered avalanches are probable in the mountains across the State.

Saturday February 24, 2007:

  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.  Itís Saturday February 24th, and itís 7:00 in the morning.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from Avalanchetools.com.

Bottom Line:

 There's a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger in the backcountry today.  You could trigger dangerous avalanches on many wind-drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  Triggered slab avalanches are most probable on northwest through southeast facing slopes above about 8000', and increasingly possible at lower elevations.   Overrunning new snow avalanches or human triggers may initiate dangerous slab avalanches releasing on deeply buried persistent weak layers.  Avoid and stay out from under steep slopes in avalanche terrain this weekend...

Current Conditions:

We'll have a "weather window" today, and we should see a brief break in the storm action.  Hopefully, the clouds will open up enough so we can see the steep high elevation terrain from a safe distance.   Our best bet for today is to stick to low angled terrain, (where you can find stellar fast powder conditions), and steer clear of steep slopes and obvious avalanche paths.  Both Smithfield and Tony Grove picked up about 8 inches of powder from Friday's storm, with Snotel sites across the Bear River Range all reporting around 0.5 inches of accumulated water equivalent.  Although the wind sensor on Logan Peak is not updating, I can attest to fairly strong winds and drifting snow at higher elevations yesterday.

Avalanche Conditions:

    Widespread very weak sugary snow or depth hoar is now buried under a substantial slab, and many slopes have reached a critical balance, while far too many others have not quite yet.  A few large natural avalanches occurred during the week in the region, (photos), and a couple people unintentionally triggered dangerous avalanches (photos1).   While you might be able to pull-off many successful climbs on steep slopes in previously tracked up areas, you could also trigger dangerous avalanches on many other slopes where sustained south and west winds have drifted tons of snow on top of nasty persistent weak layers.  The weight of smaller, fresh wind slab avalanches overrunning lower slopes plagued by existing weak basal snow could trigger larger, much more dangerous hard slab avalanches.  Avalanches stepping down into buried weak layers (photos) could easily be un-survivable, in the 2 to 4-foot-deep range and be hundreds of feet wide . Most of this week's activity has been limited to northwest through east facing slopes above around 8000' in elevation, where significant slabs developed.   Friday's storm probably overloaded weak snow on some other slopes and may have built-up some wind-slabs at lower elevations. 

Mountain Weather:

     It will be mostly cloudy today with moderate northwesterly winds and some snow showers.  Mountain temperatures will top out at around 20 degrees.  After a short-lived break today, the weather window will close down again overnight, with snowfall resuming after midnight.  We'll see another decent shot of snow on Sunday under a (often productive) southwest flow, and the moderately strong wind speeds will be perfect for further loading of our already suspect slopes....Another, potent-looking storm will impact the region on about Tuesday.

General Information:

For more information on this week's accidents from the Utah Avalanche Center, go to accidents

Check out photos of this week's avalanches in the Logan Area on our images page.

Go to the Avalanche Encyclopedia if you have any questions about terms I use in the advisory.  I also recommend the recently-released Media Page, which shows the forecast danger for our coverage areas across the state.

Please e-mail me at [email protected] or leave me a message at 755-3638 if you see or trigger avalanches in the backcountry.  The information you provide may save lives...

    I will update this advisory again on Sunday morning by 7:30.

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.