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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

 

7:30, Wednesday March 12, 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 Wednesday March 12th, at 7:30 in the morning.Todayís advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from EK USA.

Current Conditions: You can expect cooler temperatures and increasing clouds in the backcountry today.Clouds will start to roll in this morning and some snowfall is likely later this afternoon as a weak Pacific weather system and the leading edge of a moisture plume moves into the area.We could pick up an inch or so today and a few more overnight, but more substantial snowfall will hold off until tomorrow.The fresh snow will come in on a wide variety of old snow surfaces and some heavily tracked slopes.Yesterday in untracked terrain we found fairly nice fast re-crystallized powder-like snow on shady mid and upper elevation slopes, and a variety of moist snow and refreezing crusts in more sunny areas.Currently at the Campbell Scientific weather station at 9400í on Logan Peak a northwest wind is averaging around 20 mph and its 19 degrees

Avalanche Conditions:Recent local avalanche activity consisted of loose wet avalanches caused by warming and the resulting saturation of surface snow, (photo). I noticed more such activity yesterday on steep shady low elevation slopes near the mouth of Temple Fork. As it looks like perhaps significant snowfall is heading our way, Iím shifting my concerns to focus on surface snow conditions. Initially there will be quite a stability difference between heavily tracked slopes and those that are untracked, with the significantly smoother untracked slopes much more likely to produce avalanches.In these areas Iím noticing weak frost crystals or surface hoar in places, widespread areas in the shade with sugary near surface facets, slick or moist sun-crusts on sunny slopes, and funky crust/facet combos on slopes exposed to partial sun.

Although most steep slopes in the region appear stable, you might still find a few isolated fresh or old wind slabs near ridge lines at upper elevations.Continue to treat huge cornices with respect, and watch for potential significant loose re-crystallized snow sluffing on steep shaded slopes.Cooler temperatures and increasing cloud-cover should keep wet activity to a minimum today but greenhousing may play a role in heating some slopes. So, as usual, retreat if the snow on the slope youíre on gets moist or saturated.

 

Bottom Line:Thereís a LOW danger today in the backcountry, and avalanches are generally unlikely.You should still use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risk.

 

Mountain Weather: A weak Pacific weather system will affect the region today, bringing cooler temperatures, increasing clouds, and a little snow. A few more inches of accumulation is possible overnight, but the real action will hold off until tomorrow when weíre likely to see more significant snowfall under a moist westerly flow.At this point it looks like about an inch of water or around10 inches of somewhat heavy snow. Winds will be the wildcard and donít look like theyíll be too strongÖThe action should move off to our south for the coming weekend.

General Announcements:

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan is presenting an Avalanche Fundamentals, Level 1 Class (Certification), starting March 14, with field sessions on the 15th, and 22nd.Please register in advance with the Friends via e-mail or 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.