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 21, 2002

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Good morning, this is Ethan Greene with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory for the Wasatch Range near Salt Lake City.  Today is Thursday, November 21, 2002, and it’s 7:30 am.


***UDOT will be sighting in avalanche control weapons in Little Cottonwood Canyon this morning from approximately 7 am to 8 am.  They will be targeting the south facing slopes above the north side of the highway from Tanner’s through Grizzly Gulch.  Absolutely avoid early morning travel in this area. ***


Current Conditions:

The moon and stars were out last night, but it still didn’t get very cold.  Temperatures this morning are in the mid to upper 30’s at most locations and elevations.  The winds are generally light, but along the upper ridgelines the wind is blowing in the 10 to 20 mph range from the northwest.


Yesterday’s warm temperatures produced a wet and mushy snow surface on most sun exposed slopes.  Below about 8,000’ even shady slopes became damp.  Despite our lack of winter-like weather you can still find some soft recrystalized snow on mid elevation slopes that are sheltered from the wind and sun.  Elsewhere expect a variety of sun and wind crusts with a few rocks and shrubs sticking out.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday and today mark the first major warming event that our young snowpack has experienced.  Today temperatures will be especially warm so be on the lookout for signs of increasing wet slide activity.  There were a few point release wet avalanches reported yesterday.  These slides occurred in rocky chutes or gullies and off of rock slabs.  Keep an eye out for roller balls and if you’re sinking into wet snow more than about 8 inches its time to stay off of and out from under steep sun exposed slopes.


There continues to be a slight chance of triggering a deeper hard slab avalanche on the old October facets, and today’s warm temperatures will not help the deep slab instability.  Please continue to use caution on steep, mid and upper elevation shady slopes.


Bottom Line (SLC and Provo Area Mountains):

While the avalanche danger is generally LOW this morning it may rise to MODERATE on steep sun exposed slopes as temperatures increase.  Pockets of MODERATE avalanche danger due to hard slab conditions also remain on mid and upper elevation slopes.  The most likely places to trigger a slide are northwest through northeast aspects above 9,000’ and any steep wind loaded slope.


Ogden Area Mountains:

The avalanche danger is generally LOW, but could rise to MODERATE due to daytime heating. 


Mountain Weather:

A strong ridge of high pressure will bring near record high temperatures to the Wasatch Mountains today.  Expect light and variable winds and high temperatures in the mid 50’s at 8,000’ and low 40’s at 10,000’.  Tonight the winds will remain light and temperatures will drop into the mid 30’s at 8,000’.  Friday will be slightly cooler with temperatures rising into the low 50’s at 8,000’.  A weak system will move through northern Utah over the weekend with the best chance for precipitation late on Saturday.


General Information:

For a complete list of avalanche 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] or fax 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 on Friday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

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