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

sUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2002 7:30 AM

 

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Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Sunday, March 10, 2002, and itís 7:30 a.m.

 

Donít miss the always-popular, annual Banff Mountain Film Festival at the U of Uís Kingsbury Hall this coming Tuesday and Wednesday at 7pm.You can get tickets at the Kingsbury Hall ticket office, Art-Tix, the University of Utahís Outdoor Program (581-8516), and REI (486-2100).This is a benefit for the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.

 

Current Conditions:

The ridge top winds are huffing and puffing from the south all night with hourly averages 30-40 and gusting to 70 in the exposed locations.Yesterday, there was about a foot of nice, soft creamy snow in wind sheltered areas but above tree line, it was wind slab city with lots of wind damage.The sun made a sun crust on the sunny aspects and it was quite mushy below about 8,500í.

 

Avalanche Conditions:

Friday nightís clear skies and cold temperatures settled out Fridayís wind slabs fairly quickly and yesterday, people were finding the wind slabs to be fairly stubborn.Still, several people managed to trigger avalanches yesterday.Skiers kicking a cornice in West Monitor triggered a 1-2 foot deep, soft slab 100 feet wide on an east facing wind loaded slope.Snowmobiles triggered a soft slab on their own private land in Cardiff Fork on Holy Toledo and outran the slide.Control work in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon and backcountry explosive testing produced several slides that broke deeper into old, faceted snow both in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon and in American Fork.During the storm on Friday, a very large natural avalanche occurred in the western Uinta Mountains, 4-8 feet deep, 1000 feet wide.Finally, there was a snowmobile triggered slide in the Wasatch Plateau area yesterday.For a photo, click here.I will have more details about all these slides on our more detailed recorded message at 364-1591 and photos of some of them on our web page at www.avalanche.org.

 

Today, we continue to have a complicated pattern.First, there are the old wind slabs from the west and northwest winds on Friday but most of these have settled out and stabilized.Second, the very strong south winds from yesterday afternoon and last night have created a whole new round of wind slabs.Youíll find these mostly on above or near tree line, north facing slopes and cross loaded into many other slopes as well.In other words, as usual, you should avoid steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.Finally, the deeper layers of sugary faceted snow created from the clear weather over the past couple months is teetering on the brink of disaster in some localized areas.I wish I could tell you exactly where you might find some of these booby traps but the pattern is quite complex.The problem exists at all elevations and many different aspects. ††The several large avalanches on this layer Friday and yesterday, continue to confirms our worries about this layer and with each wind or snow storm, it will likely reactivate our old nemesis.

Bottom Line:

The danger of human triggered avalanches isMODERATE in most areas and on most slopes steeper than 35 degrees with isolated areas of CONSIDERABLE danger on upper elevation wind exposed terrain with recent wind drifts.Thin snowpack areas such as the western Uinta Mountains and the Wasatch Plateau also have a CONSIDERABLE danger

 

(Provo Area Mountains and Western Uinta Mountains)

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

Elevation dependent, significantly more snow as increase in elevation.

 

 

(Ogden Area Mountains)

Same as SLC area mountains.

 

Mountain Weather:

Today several weak disturbances in a westerly flow will continue to bring variable clouds, strong ridge top winds and possibly a few light snow showers to the mountains.Ridge top winds will blow 30-40 with higher gusts from the south, switching to the west northwest by tonight.Ridgetop temperatures will be near 20 degrees today and tonight with 8,000í temperatures in the lower 30ís.As for the extended forecast, we donít see any significant snow until possibly mid week when another blast of cold air may reach us from central Canada, but the computer models have not yet made up their mind on this one.

 

General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides probably not be flying today because of the wind.If they do, they will fly in the American Fork drainage.For more information call 521-6040 ext. 5280.

 

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.

 

For more detailed mountain weather and avalanche information, your can call 801-364-1591, which weíll try to have updated by around noon 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 7:30 on Monday morning.

Thanks for calling!

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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