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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

 

7:30, Wednesday April 2, 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 April 2nd, 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 Backcountry Access.

Current Conditions:

Thereís still nice spring powder on upper and mid elevation north facing slopes in the backcountry, but even with fairly cool air temperatures yesterday, the high-angle sun baked the snow surface, crusting up all other slopes. You can ride anywhere these days, with supportable snow under the newer stuff except on north facing upper elevation slopes.It is currently 15 degrees at the CSI weather station on Logan Peak with a consistent southwest wind averaging in the high teens as was the case overnight.Thereís 103 inches of total snow at the Tony Grove Snotel containing 106% of average water for the date.

Avalanche Conditions:

The Sunday night/Monday storm was fairly generous for most of the mountains of Northern Utah, and weíve received numerous reports of natural and sensitive triggered shallow soft slabs from the backcountry.Most of these new snow avalanches have been releasing on a less dense layer of somewhat inverted and drifted new snow. Locally, yesterday we noticed evidence of a few natural wind slab avalanches at upper elevations from Monday, and in the afternoon I was still able to trigger small ridge-top soft slabs by kicking off small cornices (photos).The small slabs I triggered involved all the newest snow and were sliding on a somewhat crusty interface that was Saturdayís snow surface.

Triggered wind slab avalanches are possible on steep upper elevation slopes with significant deposits of recently drifted snow. Fresh drifts should be fairly obvious, and you should avoid them on steep slopes. The huge cornices in the region now present an obvious danger, especially when itís windy or warm.Large cornices may well still be sensitive to your weight today and may break further back than you expect.†† It is always a good idea in the spring to stay out from under these monsters, (photos from 3-29).

Cloud cover and cool temperatures should keep things fairly quiet, but as is typical in the springtime, wet avalanches may become possible on steep slopes as warmth from even short periods of sunshine turns the fresh surface snow into slush.†† This time of year, any solar warming can be very intense and when the fresh snow becomes saturated it is prone to avalanching. You might find even smallish wet avalanches entraining lots of mass and traveling far.

Bottom Line:

Thereís a MODERATE avalanche danger on steep, drifted or corniced slopes in exposed terrain at upper elevations in the backcountry, and you could trigger wind slab avalanches on some very steep slopes.Wet avalanches may become possible on some slopes steeper than about 35 degrees if the sun comes out for even a little while, and the fresh surface snow is warmed and becomes saturated.

Mountain Weather: Should be mostly cloudy this morning with light winds and a chance for an inch or two of snow.Expect clearing this evening and fair weather developing tomorrow with a high pressure system for Friday.A smallish storm is expected Saturday morning and continued unsettled weather through the weekend, with yet another cold storm possible early next week.

General Announcements:

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.