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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

Monday December 24, 2007

Hello and Merry Christmas, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It’s Monday December 24th, Christmas Eve, and it’s about 7:30 in the morning.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from Backcountry.com.

             Current Conditions:

It will be a stormy day in the backcountry, and the avalanche danger will be on the rise.  You’ll be forced into the trees by very windy and snowy conditions and poor visibility.   With Christmas tomorrow and triggered avalanches likely on steep upper elevation slopes, today will be another good one to play it safe.   It’s currently 22 degrees at the Campbell Scientific weather station at 9400’ on Logan Peak, and a west wind picked up overnight, now averaging close to 30 mph with gusts in the 40 mph range.  It’s 25 degrees at Tony Grove Lake with 38 inches of total snow on the ground at the Snotel site. 

            Avalanche Conditions:

Utah’s first avalanche fatality of the season occurred yesterday at the Canyons Resort near Park City.  In the Bear River Range we’ve finally had a widespread avalanche cycle in the region that cleaned out all the weak snow on numerous suspect slopes.  Most of the naturals occurred Thursday evening during the most intense part of the furious storm.  I’ve received reports of natural avalanches from across the region, from north of the Idaho State Line to the Southern Bear River Range.  Reports include avalanches running in fairly tight trees, like the north side of the “Goal Post” near the top of Logan Peak in Dry Canyon.  I noticed lots of avalanches in the Tony Grove Lake area on slopes above about 8000’ facing north through southeast, including “P-tex bowl”, the East Face of Mount Magog, and several of the steep hills north and west of the lake.  Also from Logan you could see evidence of numerous avalanches on the east side of the Wellsville Range.

  Triggered avalanches remain probable today on slopes that did not already avalanche, where tons of new snow stacked up last week on preexisting weak snow.  Continued reports of large audible collapses or woomphing noises indicate that unstable snow conditions exist in the Bear River Range at least from Millville and Logan Peaks to Double Top Mountain.  Soft and stiffer slab avalanches consisting of last week’s and today’s snow in the 2 to 3 foot deep range are quite possible at upper elevations today.

Avalanche problems are likely to be exacerbated today by wind drifting. Strong winds accompanying periods of high precipitation rates are likely to lead to extensive loading over large areas and well off ridge lines.  You’ll need to be on the lookout for vertical cross-loading around terrain features like rock bands or sub-ridges and in gullies.   Pay attention to obvious signs of instability like recent avalanches on similar slopes, collapsing or woomphing noises, cracking, or hollow sounding snow, and be willing to reassess your route.

               Bottom Line:

 This morning there’s a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger at upper elevations in the backcountry.  Triggered avalanches are probable on many slopes steeper than about 35 degrees that have not yet already avalanched.  Avalanches will be even more likely by afternoon on wind drifted slopes facing northwest through southeast and the danger in some areas may rise to HIGH.  Stay well clear of steep slopes and avoid obvious avalanche paths or run-out zones.

 Mountain Weather:

A strong cold front will zoom across Northern Utah today, bringing periods of heavy snowfall and strong westerly winds. Expect 10 to 14 inches accumulation by late tonight.  Christmas day should bring a short lived break in precipitation, but clouds ahead of the next strong storm will start streaming into the area by evening.  Wednesday and Wednesday night’s storm looks even stronger and colder, and the productive weather pattern will likely continue through the remainder of 2007.

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'm very interested to know what you're seeing out there.  Please e-mail observations to me at [email protected] or leave me a message at 755-3638, especially if you see or trigger an avalanche in the backcountry. We keep all observations confidential.

This advisory will expire in 24 hours from the posting time.

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.