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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

7:30, Saturday February 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 Saturday February 16th, at 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 The Trailhead.

Current Conditions:You can find fairly good powder conditions with a little creativity, mainly on sheltered shady slopes at mid and upper elevations.Strong winds from the north and then east in the latter half of the week blasted exposed terrain, creating nifty patterns while scouring fluffy snow off windward slopes and re-drifting it into solid and lurid forms across many of the more popular north and east facing slopes known normally as fine powder stashes.The snow in the backcountry is generally supportable, and you can ride almost anywhere.Most low elevation slopes sport either shallowly buried and/or surface crusts.A storm passing to our north and east will bring cloud cover and a chance for a few snowflakes to the mountains today.A west wind picked up steam overnight, and the CSI weather station atop Logan Peak is now recording hourly average wind speeds close to 30 mph, with gusts in the 40s. Iím currently reading13 degrees at 9400í, 15 up at Beaver Mountain, and 6 down here in Logan.

Avalanche Conditions:The windy storm on Wednesday evening and a pronounced north through east strong wind-shift on Valentine's Day produced several natural wind slabs in the region (photo). These occurred at all elevations, and many were on south and west facing slopes. Of particular local interest; a natural avalanche carrying a pile of woody debris late Wednesday stopped on the flats a few feet from the road near the Green Canyon Gate (2-14 photos).

††† Both todayís freshly formed or forming wind slabs and those formed by strong easterly winds on Valentines Day in somewhat unusual places might be cause for concern today. Fresh drifts or slabs will likely be more sensitive and should be fairly obvious, while the older, hard and stubborn slabs may be somewhat obscured. Some wind slabs may have formed on steep slopes and in avalanche starting zones plagued by weak frost crystals or surface hoar and in some cases, a slick rime-crust. Remember that hard slabs tend to be rather stubborn, meaning they might allow you to get well out on them before releasing.

†† Bottom Line:Today youíll find a LOW danger on most steep slopes in the backcountry, especially in sheltered terrain.However, there are pockets of MODERATE danger on some steep slopes in exposed upper elevation terrain where you might trigger new or older wind slab avalanches.†† Avoid obvious drifts on steep slopes and use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risk.

†† Mountain Weather:†† A storm passing to our north and east will bring cloud cover and a chance for a little snowfall today. West winds will gradually shift around from the north. Expect similar conditions as another storm grazes by tomorrow.Itíll dry out, bringing fair weather to the region in the first part of next week.A moist and productive system looks to be lining up for later in the week.

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

Check out the images page for photos of some of last weekís avalanches.

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 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.