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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

Monday January 21, 2008

Hello and good morning, Itís Martin Luther King Day and this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Itís Monday January 21st, 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 Black Diamond.

Current Conditions:

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the Bear River and Wellsville Mountains through 6:00 this evening.Expect heavy snowfall this morning to taper off in the afternoon.So far, the winds with this storm appear to be fairly light, now blowing from the east at around 5 mph at the Campbel Scientific weather station on Logan Peak. Looks like the Wellsville and Southern Bear River Ranges are getting the most snow, with almost 11 inches reported at Snowbasin Middle Bowl in the Ogden Area and only a couple so far up at Tony Grove Lake and Beaver Mountian.

Avalanche Conditions:

Over the weekend, a skier triggered a hard wind slab avalanche just below 7000í in elevation on a NE facing slope near Ben Lomond Peak.The fortunate skier was not caught by the 18 inch deep hard slab, which failed on sugary or faceted snow.Closer to Cache Valley, Iíve received a couple reports of red flag conditions in wind exposed terrain at lower elevations.Reports include descriptions of cracking and audible collapses or woomphing noises in drifted terrain.

Last week strong north winds built stiff drifts in exposed terrain.In some areas hard wind slabs formed on small grained sugary snow called near surface facets.Iíve been watching a suspect weak layer under fairly widespread brownish or dirty snow that fell last Tuesday 1/15.Iíve noted remarkably consistent moderate failures in compression tests.

The new snow is piling up on a varied and complex old snow surface made up of wind sun and rime crusts, super light fluff, frost crystals or surface hoar, and sugary near surface facets. Avalanches will be most probable on slopes that pick up more than a foot of new snow.New wind slabs may develop today at upper elevations as easterly winds drift the fresh light powder into avalanche starting zones.

Bottom Line:

Thereís a MODERATE danger on steep slopes at all elevations in the backcountry.Triggered avalanches are possible, especially in exposed terrain at upper elevations.The danger is already or will rise to CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees that receive a foot or more of new or wind deposited snow. On these slopes you are likely to trigger avalanches and some naturals are possible. Continued heavy snowfall and/or intensifying winds will cause the danger to rise or become more widespread.

Mountain Weather:

The cold storm is forecast to move slowly southward over the region, with periods of heavy snowfall diminishing in the mountains this afternoon.The cut off low will set up off the California Coast for a few days and collect a bit of tropical moisture before making a return visit to our region around Thursday.We could see some clearing in the mountains and haze in Cache Valley in the interim on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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.

The second annual avalanche awareness ride is Saturday Feb. 2nd and weíd love to see all of you there!Proceeds help to support snowmobile specific avalanche awareness projects. Details can be found at http://www.avarides.com/

- January 24th, 26th and 27th, Avalanche Fundamentals, Level 1 Class (Certification), presented by Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan. Classroom, Thursday 6:00 at the Logan Ranger District offices at 1500 E. hwy 89Ö ($90, Please pre-register with the friends at [email protected]) Field Sessions, Saturday and Sunday January 26th and 27th, 8:00

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.