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


               The Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/


Avalanche advisory

Sunday, November 17, 2002


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Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, November 17, 2002, at 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Under cloudy skies, temperatures are mild in the mountains this morning - already in the low 30’s.  The southwesterly winds are averaging 15-20 mph with gusts near 30 along the exposed ridges. 


Turning conditions are limited to the higher elevations in most parts of the range.  Above about 9,000’ there is some decent settled powder on shady northerly facing slopes.  Most other slopes and the lower elevations are crusted early and late, and become damp with heating.  Snowshoeing is a good choice for the current conditions.


Avalanche Conditions:

While no new avalanches have been reported for several days, our snow pits still indicate lingering instabilities on the steep, shady slopes above about 9,000’.  In these areas, last weekend’s storm landed on the weak sugary October snow.  As the dense slabs above the old October snow become harder to trigger, skiers or riders may be able to cross them multiple times or get further out onto the slab before they release.  Our friends in Montana would describe the current avalanche conditions as “scary moderate” – while the places one could trigger a slide are becoming fewer, the consequences of getting caught remain grim.  So backcountry travelers should continue to stay off of steep slopes in the shady upper elevations terrain.


Moderate winds should continue today, so shallow drifts will develop along the exposed ridges, in chutes and in open bowls.  These new drifts will be sitting on weak surface snow, and could crack and move with the weight of a person on steep slopes.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today above about 9,000 feet on northeast, north and northwest facing slopes, approaching 35 degrees and steeper.  Very dangerous human triggered slides are possible in this terrain.  It is also MODERATE on steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  On most other slopes the avalanche danger is generally LOW.  


Mountain Weather:

A weak Pacific weather disturbance will move across northern Utah tonight.  Today, high temperatures will be in the mid to upper 30’s, and westerly winds will average 25 mph across the ridges with higher gusts.  Tonight, light snow showers with 1-3 inches possible.  Lows will be in the mid teens and winds will shift to the northwest.  Cloudy again and cooler on Monday, follow by dry warmer weather through midweek.


General Information:

For a complete list of evening talks and multi-day classes, visit www.avalanche.org and click on Salt Lake and then Education. 


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


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 on Monday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: