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
Sunday, March 16, 2003
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Good Morning. This is Ethan Greene with the
After a week of spring-like
conditions, this morning winter is back!
Overnight the mountains picked up
inches of new snow. Storm totals so far
are 8 to 11 inches of snow and 1.5 inches of water in the
Yesterday’s snow and wind formed some punchy wind slabs on top of hard crusts in the upper elevation areas. In the afternoon the snow surface was damp up to about 9,000’ and wet below about 8,000’.
Yesterday it was rather blustery in the mountains. Gusty southerly winds blew the new snow around and formed wind drifts along both the upper ridgelines and mid elevation terrain features. These recent wind drifts were generally 6 to 18 inches deep and a couple of winter travelers were able to trigger small pockets in steep terrain. Although these new wind drifts were rather benign yesterday, they are sitting on low density new snow or firm ice crusts that formed last week. Strong hard snow sitting on weak soft snow is a perfect recipe for an avalanche. Today you should watch your step around any fresh wind drift and remember that as more snow falls and the wind continues to blow the danger will increase.
Deep slab avalanches are still possible in the same areas that have been haunting us all year. The most likely way to trigger one of these deeper slides would be with a big trigger such as several people or snow machines on one slope at the same time. Triggering a smaller avalanche or dropping a large cornice could also produce a deep slab avalanche. Remember this year the deep slab avalanches have generally been on steep north through east facing slopes that have a relatively thin snowpack.
Bottom Line (SLC,
The avalanche danger today is MODERATE on all slopes with fresh wind drifts. Along the most exposed ridgelines and in areas that receive more snow and wind the danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE. Conditions will be changing during the day so make sure your stability evaluation changes accordingly. There also remains a MODERATE danger of triggering a deep slab avalanche especially in very steep terrain that has had a thin snowpack most of the year.
A large Pacific trough is
moving inland and over the western
Wasatch Powderbird Guides will probably not be flying today. For more information 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.
Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by on Monday morning.
Thanks for calling!
For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: