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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

7:30, Tuesday February 26, 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 Tuesday February 26th, 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 EK USA.

Current Conditions:Expect mostly sunny skies, calm or light northerly winds, and warmer temperatures today.Currently under partly cloudy skies, the CSI weather station on Logan Peak reports very light north winds and 16 degrees.Iím reading 31 degrees in both Logan and Mendon.The Tony Grove Snotel picked up 2.1 inches of water in the last 48 hours, and with 96 inches on the ground the station is reading 106% of average water content for the date.Youíll find good powder conditions at upper elevations, but expect the new snow to quickly get saturated on sunny slopes.

Avalanche Conditions:†† It was another active day in the Central Wasatch backcountry yesterday with numerous easily triggered soft or wind slab avalanches reported and cracking and collapsing noted in wind drifted terrain. (Wasatch report)Sounds like most of these were shallow new snow avalanches, but a couple stepped down around 2í deep into Fridayís light fluff.I did not see or trigger any avalanches yesterday in the Bear River Range and have no reports, but visibility was poor all day and I did not get substantive views.Please let me know what you see into out there today.

Although I suspect that heating on Saturday destroyed the frost crystals and sugary snow on many slopes especially at lower elevations, light snow fell with little or no wind earlier in the weekend, and in some areas it now may be nicely preserving weak layers that formed on or near the snow surface during the recent high pressure. (snow photos)

Solar warming could quickly heat up already somewhat moist snow on sunny mid and lower elevation slopes.Wet avalanches will be likely on many steep slopes in the middle of the day as the fresh surface snow is warmed and becomes saturated.†† Watch for roller balling and other wet activity on similar slopes, and leave or reevaluate if the snow on the slope youíre on gets sloppy.†† Remember that wet snow conditions can deteriorate rapidly during the day, often making the exit from upper elevations in the backcountry more dangerous than the entrance.

Even smallish stiffer wind slabs, new snow soft slab avalanches, and wet and dry point-release avalanches might pick up steam and could run fast and far today on existing hard or crusted bed surfaces, especially on big slopes.

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†† Bottom Line:Thereís generally a MODERATE danger in the backcountry, and triggered slab and point-release avalanches are possible on upper elevation slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.Solar warming today is likely to cause a CONSIDERABLE danger of wet avalanches, especially at lower and mid elevations, on steep sunny slopes with saturated snow.Use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risks and avoid and stay out from under steep sun-warmed slopes with saturated snow.

Mountain Weather: A high pressure system will rule the weather pattern for the work week, but weíll also see periods of cloudiness and a few snow flakes. Light winds will allow solar warming to heat concave south facing slopes, like solar ovens, but I donít expect it to get overly warm in the mountains today.Daytime temperatures will start to rise in the next couple days.A storm is probable over the coming weekend.

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 seasonís 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.