Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks


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Avalanche advisory

THURSday, FEBRUARY 14, 2002  3:30 PM



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Good afternoon, this is Carol Ciliberti with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, February 14, 2002, and it’s 4:00 p.m.


Current Conditions:

A fast moving weather disturbance is crossing northern Utah today, with an inch or two of new snow in the mountains as of about 2 pm.  Winds blasted from the west for a few hours this morning, with 11,000’ hourly averages up to 55 mph and gusts near 70.  The 10,000’ winds averaged 20-30 mph with gusts near 40.

As of 2 pm winds aloft have shifted to the northwest and are decreasing, down to 15 mph at 10,000’ and 20-30 mph at 11,000’.  Mountain temperatures have dropped to around 10 degrees.


Under the dusting of new snow there are lots of sun and wind crusts and hard wind slabs.  Wind sheltered shady slopes have some settled powder under the fresh dusting.


Avalanche Conditions:

The little bit of new snow has been drifted by today’s strong west winds, with sensitive soft slabs and cornices forming near the upper elevation ridgelines.  The new slabs vary in depth from about 3-6” in upper Millcreek Canyon, to 12-14” deep in the upper Cottonwoods. One of our avalanche workers reported that small soft slabs were easy to trigger on steep slopes near exposed ridges, packing enough weight to knock you off your feet.  These human triggered slides involved the new wind blown snow only. If you are headed for the upper elevations this afternoon or tomorrow, watch for fresh wind slabs that will likely be sensitive to the weight of a person on steep slopes.  Cracking in these drifts will be an indication of instability.   


There is still some chance of triggering a deeper hard slab avalanche.  Although this problem is isolated to only a few slopes, the consequences of triggering one could be quite serious.  Slides in the new wind drifts or large loads like several people on a slope at one time are the most likely ways to produce a deeper avalanche.


Bottom Line:         

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today on upper elevation wind drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  Human triggered avalanches are possible.  Out of the wind-affected terrain, the danger is generally LOW.


(Provo Area Mountains)

Mostly the same general conditions as in the SLC mountains.


(Ogden Area Mountains)

Mostly the same general conditions as in the SLC mountains.


Mountain Weather:

Today’s storm delivered 1-2” of new snow to the mountains before hightailing it south and east of the area.  This morning’s strong west winds shifted to the northwest early this afternoon, and are decreasing to moderate speeds.  Tonight winds will shift to the north, and to the east by morning, averaging 5-15 mph along the upper ridgelines.  Low temperatures tonight will be in the single digits at 8,000’ and the mid teens at 10,000’.  Skies will be mostly clear.

Tomorrow temperatures will climb into the mid-30’s under mostly sunny skies.  The next chance of snow will be late in the weekend, with a decent looking storm moving into northern Utah Saturday night.   


General  Information:

During the Olympics, we will issue both morning and afternoon advisories.  We’ll use the 364 -1591 line for more detailed or additional avalanche information.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, you can leave a message at (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.  Or you can e-mail an observation to [email protected] .org, or you can fax an observation to 801-524-6301.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not be flying for the next couple of weeks. 


We have a new icon-based, short advisory posted each day at www.avalanche.org.  We would appreciate any feedback on this new product.


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. 


Tom Kimbrough will update this advisory tomorrow 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: