Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center/ National Weather Service

Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

FRIday, December 7, 20017:30 a.M.


Good morning, this is Tom Kimbrough with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Friday, December 7, 2001, and itís 7:30 a.m.


Current Conditions:

The Wasatch got hammered by a stronger than expected cold front last night.Most places around the Wasatch are reporting about a foot of overnight new snow.This new snow is dense for the Wasatch, containing nearly 15% water in places.At this time, winds are still blowing 20 to 30 mph along the ridges, with gusts to 70 mph and moderate snowfall continues.Temperatures are in the teens at 8,000.All this weather should move out of northern Utah later this morning.I expect trail breaking in the backcountry to be close to impossible and turning conditions not up to our usual standards.


Avalanche Conditions:

After several days of very strong winds, some slopes in exposed places are scoured right down to the rocks while other places have huge drifts.Yesterday avalanche control work produced inconsistent results, with some slopes pulling out up to 3 feet deep, while others seemed plastered into place.There was evidence of natural avalanche activity in the backcountry but poor visibility limited how much you could see and besides, our observers werenít exactly sticking their noses very far into known avalanche paths.


Anyway, itís a new ball game again this morning with last nightís blast of heavy new snow and more wind.Avalanche control workers that I have talked with this morning arenít taking any chances today and that sounds like very good advice.With unusual weather conditions, surprising avalanches can happen and this much wind and almost 15% snow is surely unusual for the Wasatch.


The latest generation of wind drifts may be quite sensitive today, fracturing several feet deep.Slides may also break into deeper layers causing very large and long running avalanches.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is HIGH today on all drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.Human triggered and natural avalanches are likely.Avoid steep slopes and avalanche run out areas.Backcountry travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.The danger is MODERATE with human triggered avalanche possible on drifted slopes between 30 and 35 degrees steepness.


(Logan and Ogden Area Mountains)

The avalanche danger is HIGH in the Logan and Ogden mountains that received the most new snow from this storm.Some areas are reporting nearly 3 feet of new snow in the last couple of days.Combined with the very strong winds both natural and human triggered avalanches are likely.Avoid steep slopes and avalanche runout areas in the backcountry.

(Provo Area Mountains)

The avalanche danger is HIGH in the Provo mountains.Both natural and human triggered avalanches are likely.Avoid steep slopes and avalanche runout areas in the backcountry.


Avalanche conditions are frequently more dangerous in the higher elevations near and above timberline.This type of terrain, generally above about 11,000 feet, is particularly prevalent in the Provo Mountains.If you are heading into the highest peaks and ridges, use extra caution.


Mountain Weather:

Itís not over till itís over!One last blast of this storm is still keeping the snow and wind coming in the mountains this morning.Additional accumulations will probably be about 2 to 4 inches.Still, we expect the action to decrease in a few hours.By late morning snowfall should taper off and winds start dropping.We may even see some sun this afternoon.High temperatures will be in the twenties in the mountains.Skies should be clear tonight with fair skies and warmer temperatures on Saturday.The next storm: how about late Sunday.


The education page of lists avalanche classes offered this season.


For more detailed information call 801-364-1591.


If you are getting out, please give us a call and let us know what youíre seeing out there, especially if you trigger an avalanche.You can leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.


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.


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Saturday morning.

 Thanks for calling!


For more detailed weather information go to our Mountain Weather Advisory

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: