Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

Monday, MARCH 25, 2002 07:30 AM



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Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Monday, March 25, 2002, and it’s 7:30 a.m.


The Utah Avalanche Center will be giving a free avalanche awareness talk tonight at Brighton.  The talk starts at 5:30 pm and is on the 3rd floor of the Alpine Rose.  


Current Conditions:

A pretty good spring storm!  It continued to snow off and on for most of the day yesterday, with only a trace or so reported overnight.  Across the range, storm totals for the Ogden area mountains were about a foot, the Park City areas about 16”, the Cottonwoods received 16-22”, and the Provo area mountains about 6”.  As of 6am, another band was producing heavy snow in the Cottonwoods.  Winds along the upper ridgelines have been less than 15 mph, with overnight lows in the high teens. 


Warm afternoon temperatures, greenhousing, and some flashes of sunlight likely resulted in some crusting of the mid and low elevation snow surfaces, but upper elevation shady aspects will be a good bet for turning and riding conditions today.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday’s storm produced very sensitive sluff and soft slab avalanches in the new snow, with some naturals reported in the upper Tri-canyon area.  Most of these were running either on the older snow surfaces or on density inversions a few inches into the new snow.  All were running fast and far, enough to take someone for a nasty ride.  Also of interest was control work in the Park City ski area, producing two wet slab avalanches in an out-of-bounds area at about 8000’, with similar results from control work at Snowbasin. 


While much of the new snow instability has probably settled out, there may still be some sensitive soft slabs to watch out for on steep slopes at the upper elevations. For today, backcountry travelers will want to be on the lookout for changing weather conditions and the potential for a rising hazard.  For the afternoon, warming temperatures, combined with greenhousing, and some time of sunlight will likely produce wet activity on the sunny aspects, and at the mid and low elevation northerly aspects.   On another front, due to convective nature of today’s precipitation, snow amounts will vary widely over the range.  Accumulations may start to add up, where the hazard may rise accordingly.  Of course, if winds pick up to be greater than forecasted, there’s plenty of snow available to create sensitive wind drifts.  At the low elevations, it may be possible to trigger wet slabs on steep, shallow slopes.


Bottom Line: 

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  There remains a MODERATE danger of triggering a deep, dangerous hard slab avalanche in steep terrain, especially in thinner snowpack areas. 


(Ogden Area and Western Uinta Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.  


(Provo Area Mountains)

The avalanche danger is MODERATE.


Mountain Weather:

Today will be mostly cloudy with showery convective precipitation alternating with some sun by afternoon.  1-4” are possible, accompanied by light westerly winds.  8000’ highs will be near 30 degrees, with 10,000’ temperatures near 20.  The week looks uneventful with no storms projected on the longer range models.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be possibly flying in the American Fork drainage today.  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], or you can fax an observation to 801-524-6301.


For more detailed snow, avalanche, and mountain weather information, call 364-1591.  We’ll have the line 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 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: