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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

Friday January 18, 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 Friday January 18th, 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 Backcountry Access.

Current Conditions:

You can find nice cold powder conditions in sheltered terrain, and variable, wind affected snow in exposed areas.Itís currently 4 degrees at the CSI weather station on Logan Peak, and 14 in Logan.Under mostly cloudy skies, itíll warm up slightly today with mountain high temperatures in the teens.3/10s of an inch of water, or 3 or 4 inches of snow fell in the last 24 hrs, and thereís 70 inches of total snow on the ground at the Tony Grove Snotel with 85% of average water contained in the snow.Strong northerly winds blasted exposed terrain once again yesterday, and youíll find stiff and soft drifts and other old and new wind carnage at all elevations in many areas.

Avalanche Conditions:

We were still able to trigger shallow hard wind slabs and shooting cracks yesterday in Tuesdayís dusty (brownish) drifted snow.Weak sugary or faceted snow formed near the snow surface at the beginning of the week.Now the widespread drifted dirty layer, which will be a good for marking the 1-15 date in future snowpits, is capping this weakness.†† The recent tragic accident near Star Valley Wyoming, in which a huge deep slab avalanche killed a party of 3 experienced and prepared local snowmobilers, underscores the potential consequences of triggering an unlikely but deadly monster.

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.Some, older drifts will be obscured by a few inches of fluff.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 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.It will likely take a large trigger to initiate such an avalanche, so be wary of putting more than one person and one sled on a slope at one time.A few of you weighting a suspect slab together might do the trick.††††††††††††

Bottom Line:

Thereís a MODERATE danger on steep drifted slopes and wind slab avalanches are possible in exposed terrain, especially at upper elevations.The danger is generally LOW in sheltered terrain and on the majority of steep slopes in the backcountry.Although currently unlikely, deadly triggered deep slab avalanches are still possible on isolated slopes with existing weak snow near the ground.Use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risks.

Mountain Weather:

A cold northerly flow will remain over the region today, and a Canadian storm will bring snowfall later in the weekend.Expect arctic-like conditions to moderate only a little today with clouds and numerous snow flurries but not much accumulation.Thereís potential for significant snow fall late Saturday night or Sunday, with storminess potentially lingering well into next week.

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.