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

Friday, December 13, 2002

If you want this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day, click HERE.

If you want recent archives of this advisory, click HERE.

To e-mail us an observation, CLICK HERE.


Good Morning.This is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Friday, December 13, 2002, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


The Utah Department of Transportation will be testing their artillery in the Storm Mountain/Stairs Gulch Area today, December 13, around noon.Backcountry travelers should avoid the Storm Mountain Area today.


Current Conditions:

Contrary to its reputation, Friday the 13th is dawning clear and bright, and Iím optimistic that it will be a safe day for all.Up in the mountains, wind speeds have started to increase, and are now averaging 15 to 20 mph from the west, with gusts near 25 across the higher ridges and peaks.Temperatures are in the in the upper teens to mid 20ís this morning.


Snow totals ended up in the 2 to 5 inch range, and the snow is capped with a thin rime crust.The rime crust has been observed in the Logan mountains, the Cottonwoods and on the Park City side, from as low as 7,600í to the tops of the peaks on most aspects.


Avalanche Conditions:

With only 2 to 5 inches of new snow in the backcountry, the avalanche danger has not increased very much.Westerly winds created a few wind drifts in upper elevation areas, which are sitting on a variety of hard crusts and weak surface snow.Yesterday, I found these shallow wind deposits to be stubborn and mostly stable Ė they were cracking but didnít want to move.Areas of wind drifted snow may become more widespread or deeper this afternoon as the westerly winds increase, so approach any steep wind drifted slope with caution.


The new snow and rime crust have successfully covered and preserved the near surface facets and surface hoar deposits, and we will be keeping close track of this buried weak layer.There is a chance that strong winds and warmer temperatures ahead of the next larger storm may be able to erode down and destroy this weak layer in some areas.


Bottom Line (SLC, Park City, Ogden and Provo Area Mountains):

The avalanche danger remains generally LOW in the Wasatch Mountains.However, there is an isolated possibility of triggering a fresh wind drift or loose snow sluff on slopes steeper then about 35 degrees.††


Mountain Weather:

A rather weak Pacific trough moving across northern Utah this afternoon will bring increasing clouds today with a chance of very light snow showers.The westerly winds will pick up this afternoon, averaging 15 to 25 mph across the ridges.Highs today will be in the mid 30ís at 8,000í and the mid 20ís at 10,000í.On Saturday, moderate to strong southwest winds will develop ahead of the next storm system.The series of progressively stronger storm systems rolling across the region Sunday through Wednesday could give us significant accumulations of snow by the middle of next week.


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, 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 Saturday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: