Wasatch-Cache National Forest:  In partnership with:  Utah State Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan, and Utah State University College of Natural Resources.


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Logan area Avalanche Statement

7:30, Friday April 25, 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 April 25th, at 7:00 in the morning.  Today’s avalanche statement is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from you….  

Current Conditions:

Considering that May is only a few days away, you’ll find surprisingly good powder conditions today in the mountains, especially at upper elevations.  The Tony Grove Snotel reports picking up almost 11 inches of fresh snow yesterday, containing 1.1 inches of water.  Yesterday afternoon up in the Maple Creek area we found elevation dependent deep and cold new snow, ranging from a few inches at around 7000’ to well over a foot above 9000’.  This fell on a nice melt-smoothed surface, and we couldn’t feel any old tracks.  The new snow remained un-affected by spring heating, and we found great winter-like powder conditions on slopes facing all directions.  The CSI weather station on Logan Peak recorded northwest winds averaging in the teens overnight.  The winds recently shifted and are now cranking along at near 20 mph from the west, and it is 13 degrees at 9400’.  It is currently 21 degrees at The Tony Grove Snotel, and with 95 inches of total snow, the station sits at 111% of average water content for the date. 

Avalanche Conditions: 

Yesterday, we produced lots of shooting cracks in the new snow, and in some cases the new snow was not well bonded the underlying melted and then refrozen old snow.  My tests in these wind affected areas showed all the fresh snow sticking together as a slab and shearing cleanly off the warm old snow surface…

Northwest winds are forecast to increase significantly by this afternoon, which will cause considerable drifting of the new snow in exposed terrain.  You are likely to trigger soft or stiffer freshly formed wind slab avalanches in the one to two feet deep range on steep drifted slopes at upper elevations.  While you are probably used to this problem after a few months of similar conditions this season, don’t be caught of guard by a broader than expected release, and envision the consequences of an avalanche in the terrain you’re in.  Ask yourself, could you be swept into trees or rocks below, or could even a small avalanche overwhelm you in that steep sided gully?  The huge local cornices built out anew and will continue to build in today’s wind.  They’ll also certainly continue to pose a danger, becoming more sensitive or active as things heat up again in the next few days.

A high pressure system will move over the region this weekend and it’ll warm up significantly on Sunday and Monday.  This will cause the new snow to quickly become saturated and prone to wet avalanching on many steep slopes.  Although I don’t anticipate much of a problem until then, solar warming from the intense high angled spring sun could cause sizable wet sluffs on sunny slopes today and/or tomorrow as well.  Always good to respect and avoid steep slopes with saturated new snow, as wet avalanches can entrain lots of heavy snow quickly.


Bottom Line: 

  We have stopped issuing danger ratings for the season.   But, as long as there is snow on steep slopes in the backcountry avalanches will continue to be possible, especially during or right after windy spring storms or following or prolonged warm spells.

Mountain Weather:

A dry cold front will pass over the region this afternoon and it will get quite windy as the northwesterly jetstream descends southward into Northern Utah.   The winds should peak this evening and gradually subside tomorrow as a high pressure system approaches.  The high will be overhead Sunday and Monday, and we can expect significantly warmer temperatures on both days in the mountains.


General Announcements: 

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.

I will update this advisory next week with a general spring statement. 

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.