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

Thursday March 29, 2007

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Itís Thursday March 29th and itís 9:30 in the evening.  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:

Thereís a bit of new snow at higher elevations, and at least temperatures dropped below freezing.  You can find good dust-on-crust or shallow powder conditions in the backcountry, and you can ride anywhere once you get up to snow.  Most regional Snotel sites recorded a foot or less of accumulation and about an inch of water equivalent from this weekís well-advertised and slow moving spring storm. Today, I found the best snow conditions at upper elevations and on slopes with smooth underlying snow.  Cloud cover kept the snow nice on most slopes, but the sun may peek out on Friday and if so, the new snow is likely to get moist and gloppy pretty quickly on sunny slopes.

Avalanche Conditions:

 We intentionally triggered a couple small fresh wind-slabs yesterday on steep north and west facing slopes.  These were small and controllable--the loose snow ran harmlessly around you when you stopped.   By today most drifts appeared to be settled into place, but a few rouge wind slabs may still be waiting for a trigger, most likely on upper elevation south and west facing slopes. As usual you should avoid any obvious drifts on steep slopes.  

If the sun comes out from behind the clouds, intense solar warming will quickly turn the fresh surface snow wet and sloppy, and loose wet avalanches will become more likely as slopes are heated up during the day.  These will entrain the new snow and could reach a significant size, especially on big slopes.  This type of avalanche generally doesnít create problems for savvy backcountry travelers, but they can be dangerous to anyone in the line of fire.  Itís a good idea to keep one eye uphill to watch for following wet sluffs, and to move out of the way of any you initiate.  

Bottom Line:

Thereís a LOW danger and avalanches are generally unlikely on most slopes in the backcountry.  There may be a few lingering wind slabs in exposed upper elevation terrain that you could trigger, and thereís a lingering MODERATE danger on drifted slopes facing southeast through northwest above around 8500í and steeper than about 40 degrees.  With warming temperatures and periods of powerful spring sunshine possible, the danger in some areas could rise to MODERATE and you might trigger significant loose wet avalanches on sunny slopes with saturated surface snow.

Mountain Weather:

Snow showers are likely on Friday, with little accumulation.  But cloud cover may preserve the quality snow for the weekend.  Heat generated by periods of sunshine will likely be trapped by clouds and greenhousing may well be a factor.  More extended periods of sunshine and mild temperatures are expected for the weekend, and the next spring storm will impact the region on Sunday night.

          General Information:

Check out photos of 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...

This advisory will expire on Friday night. I will update it again on Saturday 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.