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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

Wednesday January 16, 2008

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Itís Wednesday January 16th, and itís 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 Avalanchetools.com

  Current Conditions:

Youíll need to bundle-up and be prepaired for seriously arctic conditions if you plan a trip in the backcountry today.   Itís currently -8 degrees at the CSI weather station on Logan Peak, -6 at Beaver Mountain, and 4 in Smithfield.  Even under mostly clear skies, itíll stay fridgid today with mountain high temperatures in the single digits.  Strong northerly winds blasted exposed terrain yesterday, and youíll find stiff and soft drifts and other wind carnage at all elevations in many areas.  A half inch of water, or 5 or 6 inches fell in the last 24 hrs, and thereís 76 inches of total snow on the ground at the Tony Grove Snotel with 86% of average water contained in the snow.

 Avalanche Conditions:

My party triggered a few small freshly formed wind drift avalanches in yesterdayís tempest.   We felt in control of the small avalanches, which would pop out mid slope or in terrain features as we sped over them.  We noted obvious signs or red flags, like significant loading, building, almost yellowish looking drifts, and shooting cracks.  Where we were, the strong winds probably destroyed most of the frost crystals and near surface facets that developed under clear skies on Sunday and Monday nights.  

You might find some sizable wind slabs today in exposed upper elevation terrain.  These should be fairly obvious, smooth and chalky in appearance, and perhaps somewhat hollow sounding.   You should avoid steep drifted slopes at all elevations, as some of todayís wind slabs could be larger than expected and carry you for a dangerous ride.

I still must mention the faint possibility of dangerous and destructive deep slab avalanches.  There may be isolated slopes in the region where a deep slab is not well anchored to underlying smooth terrain and where it is thin enough for the instability to be activated by your weight or that of a smaller overrunning wind slab avalanche.                 

 Bottom Line:

  Thereís a MODERATE danger on steep drifted slopes in the backcountry, and wind slab avalanches are possible in terrain exposed to north winds at all elevations.  Although currently unlikely, deadly triggered deep slab avalanches are still possible on isolated slopes with existing weak snow near the ground, most likely in exposed upper elevation terrain.  Use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risks.

 Mountain Weather:

  A very cold air-mass will be over the region today, and expect arctic-like conditions overnight.  A cold northerly flow will persist through the weekend and temperatures will only gradually warm.  The next potential storm wonít arrive until Sunday night or Monday.

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.