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


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

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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 Wednesday, February 12, 2003, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


The Banff Film Festival is coming to Kingsbury Hall tonight and tomorrow night, with different films each night.Tickets are available at Kingsbury Hall, Art-Tix, the Outdoor Rec Program and REI, or call 581-8516 for information.The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center benefits from this event.


We will be giving a free avalanche awareness talk at Milo Sport in SL tonight, at 7:00 pm.They are located at 3119 East, 3300 South.


Park City:Craig Gordon will give an avalanche awareness talk tonight at 7:00 pm especially for snowmobilers in Heber at Neilsonís Fast Track, which is at 1740 South on the main highway.


Current Conditions:

Warm air is moving in from the south, and itís time ditch the heavy woolies and switch back to your Hawaiian shirt.Temperatures are currently in the mid to upper 20ís at most elevations, which is about 10 degrees warmer than yesterday morning.The southwest winds are light, in the 5 to 15 mph range.While there are areas of breakable wind and sun crusts on the snow surface, good turns can still be found in settled powder on shady, wind sheltered slopes at mid and upper elevations.

Avalanche Conditions:

The temperature line on our weather chart has been steadily marching upward over the past few days, signaling a change in weather and snowpack conditions.Today, the combination of warming temperatures, sun, occasional thin clouds and light winds will heat the snow surface on a variety of aspects.On sunny slopes, both wet sluffs and wet slabs will be possible, often initiating around rocks bands which heat up first.There could also be localized damp sluffs on the shady slopes as the cold, dry snow warms up for the first time, especially below about 9,000í.So if the snow surface becomes damp and sloppy where you are, itís time to get off of and out from under steep slopes.


Pockety, shallow wind slabs exist along the higher ridges.Most are rather stubborn, but it is possible to crack them out on steep slopes.Once you get a wind slab or cornice moving, it has the potential to step down into the weaker faceted layers.Resort control work in the Ogden area mountains released two wind slabs that stepped into deeper weak layers Monday and Tuesday.The resulting slides were 1 Ĺ feet deep and up to 75í wide.†††


And finally, you can never totally relax when there are buried layers of facets in the snow pack.While there are only isolated places where you can trigger a deeper avalanche, if you do it will be large and very scary.The most likely place would be a steep, rocky slope with a shallow snow pack, especially on a slope that slid earlier this year.


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

With day time heating, the danger of damp sluffs and slabs will increase to MODERATE on and below steep sunny slopes, and on the low and mid elevation shady slopes.There is also MODERATE danger of human triggered avalanches on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow and a MODERATE danger of triggering an avalanche into deeper weak layers on northwest, north, northeast and easterly facing slopes, steeper than about 35 degrees and above about 9,000 feet.With a warm, wet storm in the forecast, there will be a rising avalanche danger tonight into the weekend.


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


Mountain Weather:

The closed low spinning off the southern California coast is placing northern Utah under a warm, increasingly moist flow.Highs today will be near freezing at 10,000í and in the low 40ís at 8,000í.Winds will remain light, less than 15 mph, from the southwest.Light rain and snow showers could begin by late afternoon, increasing after midnight. Widespread snow by Thursday morning, with snow levels dropping to 8,000í.Snowfall should continue into early Saturday morning.


General Information:

Today, Wasatch Powderbird Guides will fly in Silver, Days, Cardiff and White Pine drainages, with a slim possibly of going to American Fork.


The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center are offering an intensive three-day avalanche class February 15 Ė 17.††† A generous donation by Voile and Milosport helps make this class affordable at $125.To sign up call the Black Diamond retail store at 801-278-0233.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, remember that the information you have could save someoneís life.Please leave a message on our answer machine at (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.


Ethan will update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: