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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

7:30, Friday February 22, 2008

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It’s Friday February 22nd, 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 Avalanchetools.com.

Current Conditions:  Remember your goggles today as snowfall looks inevitable.  The National Weather Service issued a Snow Advisory for the region through early tomorrow morning.  Several inches are likely during the day, with snowfall intensifying this evening and continuing tonight.  New snow will be falling on a tired-out and tracked-up old snowpack and a wide variety of surface conditions including sun and wind crusts in exposed terrain and shallow reconstituted “loud” powder in more sheltered areas.  The Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak reports 18 degrees with moderate south winds, averaging around 12 mph.  With 83 inches on the ground, the Tony Grove Snotel holds slightly above average water content for the date.

  Avalanche Conditions:   Other than a little wet sluffing, no recent avalanche activity has been reported or observed in the Logan Area since last weekend.  Today’s snow will probably stick to most of the available snow surfaces pretty well, but I’m not so sure about some.  The soft, shallow, re-crystallized “powder” on sheltered north facing slopes at all elevations is what we call near surface faceted snow and it has a notorious reputation for becoming a persistent weak layer once buried.  Some slopes also sport frost crystals or surface hoar, and on many it’s capping wind or warmth crusts (snow photos).

I’m expecting a somewhat gradual rise in avalanche danger over the weekend.  Enough new snow might build up on some slopes to cause minor avalanche problems today.  I’d expect sluffing and perhaps a few shallow soft slabs to develop on steep slopes as snow piles up during the storm. The danger will likely rise and become more widespread overnight with continued snowfall.  When and if the winds pick up this weekend, as they may in advance of Sunday’s more potent storm, the danger may rise significantly

   Bottom Line:  This morning you’ll find a LOW danger in the backcountry and avalanches are generally unlikely.  Heavy snowfall may cause the danger of new snow avalanches to rise to MODERATE by late this afternoon, with triggered avalanches becoming possible.  The danger is likely to rise or become more widespread overnight. Use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risk.

   Mountain Weather:   The first of two storms scheduled for the weekend is moving out of the south and will bring developing snowfall today, intensifying this evening into tonight.  The mountains could pick up 6 inches today and 6-8 more overnight.  Saturday will bring a break between the storms with an increasingly strong southerly wind in the evening and overnight ahead of Sunday’s more powerful wave of storminess.  High pressure will return next week.

General Announcements: 

Upcoming avalanche class: February 29th-March 1st, Avalanche Basics, USU Outdoor Recreation Center, Friday February 29th, 6:30p, Field Session Saturday March 1st, 9:00a.  ($35, Please register in advance with the ORC.)  For more information contact [email protected].

Check out the images page for photos of some of this season’s 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.

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.