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


Sunday, February 02, 2003

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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.  Today is Sunday, February 02, 2003, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.  This advisory is brought to you by our partner, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, generously supported by Black Diamond Equipment.


Current Conditions: 

Yesterday high temperatures at 8,000’ were in the upper 40’s and we set a new record high of 63 degrees at the Salt Lake City airport.  This morning temperatures are in the low 20’s at 8,000’ and upper teens at 10,000’, and more importantly there are 5 to 10 inches of NEW SNOW!  What a difference a day makes.


Storm totals this morning are about 10 inches of snow and 0.8” water in upper Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, 5 inches of snow and 0.7” water along the Park City Ridgeline, 5 inches of snow and 0.3” water in the Ogden Area Mountains, and about 6 inches in the Provo Area Mountains.


In most mountain areas the temperatures dropped below zero and snow started to fall about midnight.  Along the upper ridgelines the winds were 20 to 30 mph from the southwest until about 5am.  Currently the winds are blowing 15 to 20 mph from the northwest.


Under the new snow there are a variety of firm crusts.  These crusts are the strongest on east through southwest aspects.  Before the cold air rolled in the entire snowpack was wet below about 8,000’.


Avalanche Conditions:

Today is going to be an active day in the mountains.  Ample amounts of new snow and strong winds will create sensitive wind drifts along exposed ridgelines and the sides of gullies and subridges.  In areas where the new snow is able to bond to the old surface, slides braking into the old snow are likely.  This scenario is possible on all aspects, but most likely to occur on slopes with a northerly aspect.


In mid and low elevation areas the entire snowpack was wet prior to the storm.   The cold temperatures this morning will cause the snowpack to freeze solid this morning.  However, if you’re in an area where the new snow has insolated the old wet snowpack, avalanches breaking into deeper layers are possible.  As you’re moving about, dig down below the old snow surface and if you can make a good snowball with the old snow you might want to avoid traveling on our under steep slopes.


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

The avalanche danger today is CONSIDERABLE on all slopes above about 9,000’.  With more snow and wind in the forecast the avalanche danger may rise to HIGH this afternoon.  Elsewhere the avalanche danger is generally MODERATE, however there may be localized areas below 8,500’ where the snowpack is still wet and the avalanche danger is higher.


Western Uintas – call 1-800-648-7433 or click here for weekend and holiday forecasts.


Mountain Weather:

A moist Pacific Storm will continue to bring snow and wind to the mountains today.  Temperatures will be cooling most of the day with highs in the mid 20’s at 8,000’ and upper teens at 10,000’.  Winds will be shifting from the southwest to the north trough the day.  I expect wind speeds in the 15 mph range in mid elevation areas and 25 mph range along the ridgelines.  Snow will continue through most of the day and then taper off during the late afternoon and evening.  I expect an additional 5 to 8 inches by sundown.  Unsettled weather will continue on Monday with mostly cloudy skies and scattered snow showers.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not be flying.


The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, supported by Voile and Milosport, are offering an intensive three-day avalanche class February 15 – 17.  Half of the spots are reserved for snowboarders.  To sign up call the Black Diamond retail store at 801-278-0233.  


Tonight there will be a fundraiser for the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue avalanche dog program.  Tickets are available at the Black Diamond retail store.  Please call 435-615-2226 for more information and additional ticket locations. 


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.


I 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: