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

Thursday, November 7, 2002



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Good afternoon, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is November 7th.

The annual backcountry gear swap will be at REI this Saturday, November 9th , starting at 9am. You can bring in any gear you want to sell tonight or Friday evening from 5 to 9pm. The proceeds benefit avalanche forecasting and avalanche education in Utah.


We wont have all our phone lines hooked up until next week, so you may find it easier to access this advisory on the internet.


Current Conditions:

Light snow has begun to fall at the higher elevations and temperatures are starting to drop as the first in a series of disturbances reaches the Wasatch mountains. The strong southerly winds are averaging 20 to 30 mph along the ridges, with gusts 50 to 70 mph.


Avalanche Conditions:

The avalanche danger will be on the rise Friday through the weekend. Once there is enough snow to ski or board, then there is enough snow to slide, even on your first day of the season. To prove it, Utah has a history of November avalanche fatalities. So if you head into the backcountry the next few days, be prepared with your all your avalanche safety tools and be evaluating the terrain and snowpack with avalanches in mind.


The October storms have given the shady, upper elevation slopes a thin snowpack. Most of this old snow has weakened into sugary facets, and is covered in places with shallow wind slabs. With the current winds, these slabs are increasing in depth and area, and are already sensitive to the weight of a person on steep slopes. Additional snow and winds this weekend will increase the avalanche danger, with slides breaking both with in the new snow and into the old sugary snow.


Remember, avalanche control work is not being done at the closed ski areas, and these slopes and runs must be treated as backcountry. Also, coverage will be poor for days to come, so use caution to avoid hitting hidden objects.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger today is confined to areas with old October snow, which are shady slopes above about 9,000. In these areas the danger is MODERATE on steep wind drifted slopes. Out of wind affected terrain and on lower angle slopes, the danger is LOW. Be alert to increasing avalanche danger throughout the weekend.




Mountain Weather:

A series of fast moving disturbances should bring significant snow to the northern Utah mountains Friday through Sunday. Tonight, were expecting 3 to 6 of snow accompanied by strong southwest winds. Snow continuing into Friday, with an additional 6 to 12 inches possible. The strong southwest to westerly winds will persist into Saturday. Two more storm impulses will move through this weekend, which could top off snow totals at 2 to 4 feet in favored locations.


General Information:

To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140. 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.


We have several free avalanche awareness talks coming up the first two are Tuesday, November 12th at 7 pm at REI and Thursday, November 14th at 7pm at the Black Diamond Retail store. For a complete list of evening talks and multi-day classes, visit www.avalanche.org and click on Resources and then Education.


Tom Kimbrough will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday 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: