Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

sunday,  FEBRUARY 24, 2002  7:30 AM

 

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Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, February 24, 2002, and it’s 7:30 a.m.

 

Current Conditions:

A dry cold front went ripping through yesterday afternoon, bringing strong southerly winds, a trace of snow and a return to winter temperatures.  This morning, a combination of temperatures in the mid teens and northwesterly winds averaging 15 to 25 mph along the ridges will have most people reaching for an extra layer of clothing.  Light snow flurries are being reported at most mountains locations this morning, with a trace to two inches of new.

 

There is a smorgasbord of wind and sun crusts covering much of our terrain at the lower elevations and on all wind exposed and sunny slopes.  While elusive, dense dry snow does exist on wind sheltered shady slopes above about 8,500’.

 

Avalanche Conditions:

Several days of very warm temperatures followed by last night’s dramatic cooling are a good recipe for snowpack stability.  Much of our snow will be literally locked up today, with strong wind slabs or refrozen snow on the surface.

 

Today’s new snow will not bond well to these hard snow surfaces.  So if we get more than a few inches of new snow, expect sluffing on steep slopes, or even shallow soft slabs in wind drifted areas.  There may also be a few steep slopes where a person could trigger one of the older hard wind drifts from yesterday’s strong southerly winds.  These very dense wind drifts could act as hard slabs, breaking out well above you on the slope. 

 

There remains an isolated deep slab problem, where a person could trigger a large slide on the more deeply buried faceted snow.  This would be most likely in a thinner snowpack area, including slopes that have slid one or more times this year, upper elevation wind scoured areas, or steep rocky areas.

 

Bottom Line: 

The danger of human triggered avalanches is MODERATE on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees with recent or old wind drifts and also MODERATE on all slopes where slabs are underlain by weak, faceted snow. 

                                                                                                                      

(Provo Area Mountains and Western Uinta Mountains)

 

These areas have had a thin snowpack most of the winter, and the sugary weak snow is more widespread.  The danger of human triggered avalanches is more widespread in the Provo and Western Uinta Mountains, especially where wind loaded. 

 

(Ogden Area Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Area Mountains

 

Mountain Weather:

A cool northwest flow will be over the area today, with an even colder secondary system dropping across the area tonight.  Snow showers today, with accumulations of 1 to 4” possible.  Northwesterly winds will average 20 to 30 mph along the ridges.  Highs today will be in the low 20’s at 8,000’ and in the mid teens at 10,000’.  Continued snow showers tonight, with another few inches possible and moderate to strong northwesterly winds.  Lows 5 to 10.  Cold, dry and windy on Monday.

 

General 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.

 

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. 

 

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 Monday 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:

http://www.avalanche.org/usdanger.htm