Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

WEDNESDAY, April 10, 2002†† 07:30 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 Wednesday, April 10, 2002, and itís 7:30 a.m.

 

Current Conditions:

As the old saying goes, April showers bring May poor skiing and sledding, or something like that. Overnight we had several impulses of rain with the rain-snow line disgustingly high, around 9,500í.The automated weather stations at the ski areas are showing only about a tenth or two of an inch of rain with no snow accumulation, at least not yet. There was more precipitation in northern Utah and less as you go south. The temperatures are just starting to drop this morning as the cold air pushes in from the northwest and should bring the rain-snow line down to a more reasonable 8,000í. ††Ridge top temperatures were around 34 overnight and are dropping down to around 27 with westerly winds around 15 mph.Yesterday, there was supportable corn snow on most slopes with some crusty, variable snow on very upper elevation north facing slopes.

 

Avalanche Conditions:

Rain is never a pretty sight when it falls on snow.I expect that the rain overnight and this morning will have made some soggy snow especially at elevations below about 8,500í so you will have to watch out for the usual rounds of wet sluffs and some wet slabs especially on steep, rocky, shallow snowpack areas.Yesterday, I noticed that above about 9,000í, we still have dry snow with buried depth hoar and faceted layers on north facing slopes and when these get wet for the first time they will almost certainly produce large, wet slabs.I donít think this latest rain affected those slopes very much but itís certainly something to keep in mind for later in the spring.

 

Iím expecting an inch or two or three of new snow today above about 8,000í with rain below and I expect that the new snow will bond well to the old snow surface and shouldnít affect the stability very much.

 

Remember that we still have the same lingering deeply buried faceted snow on upper elevation shady slopes that have been producing some stupendously huge avalanches for the past couple months.While there are only isolated places where you can trigger these deep slab avalanches they would be very large and dangerous. Also, glide avalanches are always a problem this time of year off of steep rock slabs, the most notorious of these are in Broads Fork and Stairs Gulch.Itís always wise to avoid these steep, rock slabs until very late in the spring after they have gone through their wet slab cycle

 

Bottom Line:

Today, I would continue to call it a LOW avalanche danger on most slopes with a MODERATE danger of wet sluffs and slabs on steep slopes below about 8,500 feet, especially thin rocky areas.If we get more than about 6 inches of dense snow today or heavy rain, you can expect the avalanche danger to rise at least one notch.

 

(Ogden Area and Western Uinta Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.††

 

(Provo Area Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.

 

Mountain Weather:

It looks like kind of a dreary day today and Iím expecting light rain below about 8,500í with light snow above.Iím guessing that we wonít seem much more than a couple inches of snow up high.Ridge top winds will blow around 15 mph from the west with ridge top temperatures around 28 degrees and 8,000í temperatures barely above freezing.This afternoon, the air is unstable enough that we may see some convective showers, but once again, I donít think it will amount to much.Tonight should be partly cloudy with partly cloudy skies and about the same temperatures for Thursday.

 

Friday and the weekend look warmer and sunnier but it looks like a much stronger storm should arrive Sunday night and Monday with a chance for some more serious snow.Itís kind of a Utah tradition for a large snow storm to arrive on the day most of the ski areas close for the season or the day afterwards so we can probably count on this one.Sunday should be the last forecast day of the season for us here at the Utah Avalanche Center so that should guarantee a large storm.

 

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.We have a new avalanche and backcountry observation page that weíd like to encourage folks to try out.It can be found on our home website at avalanche.org.You can also 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.

 

Tom Kimbrough will update this advisory by 7:30 Thursday 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