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


Thursday, March 13, 2003

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Good Morning.This is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Thursday, March 13, 2003, and itís 7:30 in the morning.We would like to acknowledge one of our partners, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, generously supported by Backcountry Access.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday was the best day of the year for the Smart family and today will be the warmest day of the winter in the mountains.Usually, temperatures drop overnight, but last night the ridge top temperatures continued to either remain steady or rise through the night to peg out between freezing and 40 degrees.Down in the mountain valley bottoms, the clear sky cooled the snow down and the cold air pooled keeping temperatures just at or below freezing.As far as snow surface conditions, the snow is either wet or refrozen below about 9,000 feet with old wind damaged snow within 1000 vertical feet of the ridge tops.The only dry snow left is on north facing slopes above about 9,000 feet and you might find something resembling corn snow this morning on south facing slopes if you get it early.


Avalanche Conditions:

If weíre going to get any avalanche activity from warming, today is the day.At least at elevations below 9,000í, we havenít had a solid refreeze since Monday morning and weíve had shallow refreezes since then.Day time highs at 8,000í have been in the upper 40ís to 50 yesterday. Ridge top temperatures have been climbing steadily for the past several days and they are at or well above freezing at most mountain stations.


Yesterday, someone reported seeing a slab avalanche high in Stairs Gulch, which is very steep, shallow, rocky terrain, and the Ogden area mountain had one slab pop out along the ridge line on a steep east facing slope about 2 feet deep and 100 feet wide. Iím guessing that today we will see several both wet and dry slabs peel out, especially in steep, rocky, shallow areas.For instance, today is not a good day to go into places like Broadís Fork, Stairs Gulch or Mineral Fork where we often see large, wet, glide avalanches in these kinds of conditions.We will also see localized wet, loose sluffs, especially at elevations below about 9,500í and you may have some of those giant roller balls chase you down the hill. Today cornices will also be getting soft and they might be not only easy to trigger, but they may drop onto the slope spontaneously, in an annoying way, which could trigger deeper avalanches.As always, you should get out early and get off of and out from underneath any steep slope when it gets wet and soggy, especially in the heat of the afternoon.


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

Today, there is a MODERATE danger of both natural and human-triggered wet sluffs, wet slab avalanches, dry slabs and cornice falls at all aspects and elevations. The avalanche danger will likely rise to CONSIDERABLE in the heat of the afternoon on steep, shallow, rocky areas, especially in thinner snowpack areas outside of the Cottonwood Canyons where the snowpack is thinner.


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


Mountain Weather:

Today will be extremely warm with ridge top temperature rising into the low to mid 40ís and 8,000í temperatures rising into the mid 50ís.Ridge top winds will begin to blow more strongly through the day, rising to 30 mph by this evening from the south and southwest.By Friday, temperatures will finally begin to cool with increasing clouds and continued strong winds.For the extended forecast, our winter is not over yet, as we have another juicy looking storm headed our way for later on Saturday through about Tuesday, which looks like it will put down some significant snow, then perhaps more snow on about Thursday.


General Information:

Also, the Wasatch Powderkeg rondenee rally race will take place early this Saturday morning and they will mark the course in Grizzly Gulch this afternoon, so please donít remove the orange flags.They will take them down after the race.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides will fly today in the Bountiful Session Mountains. For more information or to talk with a guide, call (801) 742-2800.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, 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.


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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