Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

FRIDAY, April 12, 2002   07:30 AM



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Good morning, this is Tom Kimbrough with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, April 12, 2002, and it’s 7:30 a.m.


Current Conditions:

Clouds moved over Utah last night after midnight and mountain temperatures never dropped below freezing at most locations.  Some valley bottoms where cold air pools did nip under 30 degrees but higher on nearly slopes temperatures are in the mid to upper thirties.  There was probably enough clearing early last night to set up the snow surface but the freeze is marginal and won’t last long.  Hopefully the cloud cover this morning will keep the temps from rising rapidly.  Winds are light and westerly.


Avalanche Conditions:

I’m getting the feeling that this winter season could use a dose of euthanasia, although Thursday did turn out to be beautiful, with sunny skies, cool temperatures and fine corn snow riding.  Some of Wednesday’s dreariness may return today with mostly cloudy skies this morning and possibly a few April showers. 


Looking at the fracture lines of last week’s wet slab avalanches, I am a bit puzzled why one slope pulls out and others that look identical didn’t.  A lot more didn’t than did and I won’t trust those that didn’t when the next major warm-up comes around.  One noticeable similarity in last week’s slides is that most of them broke at mid-slope.  This week has been quiet but those January weak layers are still lurking down there, just waiting for a couple of hot days and warm nights to become active again.


Last night’s temperatures were probably not warm enough to get another round of wet slabs going but if the sun comes out later today and as temperatures rise, wet surface slides will become likely and a few isolated deep releases are possible.  If you are going into the mountains today your best protection is to head for home when the snow becomes wet and sloppy.  Traveling under steep rock slabs (like those in Broads Fork and Stairs Gulch) is not recommended, especially in the afternoon.  Also avoid gully bottoms (like Donut Falls) at mid and lower elevations.  The chances of getting caught in a deep slab avalanche will be isolated today, but consequences remain severe.


Bottom Line: 

This morning the avalanche danger is generally LOW but it will increase to MODERATE with daytime warming.  If you are sinking into the snow past your boot tops get off of steep slopes and stay out of avalanche run-out areas.


(Ogden Area and Western Uinta Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.  


(Provo Area Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.


Mountain Weather:

This morning’s clouds are associated with a very weak disturbance that will be crossing Utah today.  The mountains will have mostly cloudy skies with a slight chance of a light rain shower.  High temperatures today will be near 50 at 8,000 feet and in the low forties at 10,000.  Winds will be 5 to 15 mph over the ridges from the west.  Tonight’s low temperatures will be in thirties but skies may be clear enough to give a fairly good re-freeze on Saturday morning.  A brief and rather flat ridge will build on Saturday before a stronger storm begins to approach our area on Sunday. 


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 we’d 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. 


I will update this advisory by 7:30 Saturday 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: