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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Good morning, this is Drew
Hardesty with the
I’ve been aching to say if
for a while, but it appears Old Man Winter is back, and boy is he angry. Must be something
to do with the Olympics leaving town. The
winds are the big story over night and this morning, with most ridgetop weather stations showing hourly averages in the 30’s
and 40’s out of the west. One of the
most exposed sites had hourly averages in the 50’s for a few hours this morning,
with gusts near 90. Overnight snowfall
amounts are in the 2-4” range depending on location, and it was still lightly
snowing as of 6 this morning. Storm snow totals since yesterday morning are about
8” in the upper Cottonwoods, and about 5-6” in the
Snow surface conditions will consist of wind scoured areas to stout wind drifted areas to decent soft powder where sheltered.
Yesterday’s new snow and winds created widespread shallow sensitive wind drifts, that responded easily to slope cuts. Some natural activity from wind loading was reported as well in the upper Wolverine/Tuscarora area. Most were about 6” deep running in the new snow, with a few slope cuts in drifts releasing about a foot deep. It’s likely that with the few more inches overnight and continued strong winds, some natural activity has continued to take place early this morning, with drifts still building. While today’s wind drifts may be more stubborn to trigger, they could break deeper and wider, resulting in more dangerous avalanches. Strong winds will also result in unusual loading patterns. More sensitive winddrifts may be farther off the ridgelines than expected. Shooting cracks and audible “whumphs” are immediate signs of instability.
avalanche accident occurred in the
There remains an isolated deep slab problem, where a person could trigger a slide today that would step down into 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.
The danger of human triggered avalanches is MODERATE bordering on CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with recent or old wind drifts. Human triggered avalanches will be possible. The danger is also MODERATE on all slopes where slabs are underlain by weak, faceted snow.
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.
Light showers will taper off
by early morning, giving way to partly cloudy skies. Winds will remain strong
out of the west northwest, with ridgetop averages
over 30mph. By afternoon, the winds
should back off somewhat, but still be enough to push some snow around. 8000’ highs will be in the high teens, with
10,000’ temperatures in the single digits.
A cool northwesterly flow will persist over northern
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.
If the winds cooperate, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying in the American Fork drainage today.
For more detailed mountain weather and avalanche information, your can call 801-364-1591, which we’ll try to have updated by around each day.
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.
I will update this advisory by tomorrow morning.
Thanks for calling!
For more detailed weather information go to our Mountain Weather Advisory
For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: