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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

Saturday March 03, 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 March 3rd, 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.

Current Conditions:

Dangerous avalanche conditions dictate extreme caution in the backcountry, and you'll want to avoid and stay well clear of all steep drifted slopes.  Since last Saturday, more than four feet of snow piled up in favored parts of the Bear River Range.  Luckily deep, deep powder kept most of us out of trouble yesterday. Trail breaking through thigh-deep fluff is rather tedious and you could well enough bury your sled on the flats.  You couldn't even get to the big slopes up high and there appeared to be ample powder on the flats and at lower elevations to keep everyone busy.  Mountain temperatures are hovering around zero under clear skies this morning, and a moderate southwesterly breeze is forecast.

Avalanche Conditions:

It looks like we've been set up for another extremely dangerous weekend in the backcountry.  Even though the weather will be pleasant today, with sunshine and warming temperatures, dangerous avalanche conditions still exist on many steep slopes.  Twice this week, very strong westerly winds and lots and lots of readily transportable snow caused widespread natural avalanches in the region. (photos)  While deep powder now obscures the evidence of most of this week's avalanche activity, several of the most recent natural avalanches (some visible from Cache Valley) stepped down into early season snow and were quite huge and unsurvivable. (more photos)  If you hit the shallow part of a slope just right you could trigger a deep and very dangerous hard slab avalanche releasing on a persistent buried weak layer.   Fresh wind slab or loose avalanches overrunning slopes with deep instabilities are also likely triggers today.   Some sheltered sunny slopes may heat up significantly today, which could increase the danger of both slab and moist avalanche activity.  Significant warming of many slopes is a sure bet tomorrow.

Bottom Line:

There is a CONSIDERABLE danger on wind-drifted slopes in the backcountry.  Human triggered wind slabs and deadly, deep hard slab avalanches are possible on numerous drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  Avalanches are most likely above about 8000' on wind-drifted northwest through southeast facing slopes, but any steep drifted slope at any elevation is suspect .  Remotely triggered avalanches are possible in some areas.  Rapid solar warming this weekend will cause an increased danger of both slab and moist loose avalanches, initially on sheltered sunny slopes.  If you're not extremely confident with your route finding and avalanche avoidance skills, you should stay out of backcountry avalanche terrain this weekend.

 Mountain Weather:

A high pressure system will build over the weekend, and temperatures will rise significantly in the mountains.  Mountain high temperatures will reach the mid-twenties today and potentially the mid-forties tomorrow.  A couple weak-looking impulses will bring unsettled weather and snow showers to the region next week.

General Information:

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

Check out photos of last 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.

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.