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


Monday, March 24, 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 Monday, March 24, 2003, and it’s 7:30 in the morning. 


Current Conditions:

Our snow making machine seems to be on the blink.  Last night the clouds sputtered and spat, but only a few inches fell out.  Overnight totals are in the zero to 3 inch range.  “Storm” totals are 3 to 6 inches in the Salt Lake area mountains, and 1 to 3 inches in Ogden, Provo, and Park City area mountains.  Yesterday morning the rain/snow line was near 8,000’, but it dropped to near 6,500’ overnight.  Temperatures this morning are in the mid 20’s at 8,000’ and low 20’s at 10,000’.  The winds have been from the northwest and west overnight in the 15 mph range.


This morning there should be some fine “dust on crust” conditions in the backcountry.  The deepest soft snow will be on shady slopes above about 9,000’.  Below 8,000’ you can look for supportable and some breakable crusts near the snow surface.


Avalanche Conditions:

Today the avalanche danger will change with location and elevation.  Areas above 10,000’ received the most snow and wind, and today these areas will have the greatest avalanche danger.  Soft wind drifts may slide easily off the firm old snow surface, and on some shady slopes the drifts could be sitting on surface hoar that formed Friday night.  Most of these avalanches will be fairly shallow, but heavily wind loaded areas could have drifts over a foot deep.  Remember that even small avalanches can be dangerous if they push you off a cliff or into a tree or gulley.


The cloud cover is a bit of a wild card today.  Cloud bands will be rolling through during the day.  If we get a prolonged period of direct sun the surface snow will become quite active.


Lastly isolated areas where you could trigger an avalanche on a deeper weak layer remain.  All of the deep slab avalanches within the last week have been triggered by explosives.  These avalanches may now be harder to trigger, but the consequences will still be severe.    


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

Today there is a MODERATE avalanche danger on steep wind loaded slopes above about 9,500.  In areas below 9,000’ the avalanche danger is generally LOW.  With prolonged periods of direct sun the danger from wet point release avalanches will rise quickly.  Lastly there remains a MODERATE danger of triggering a deep slab avalanche on slopes approaching 40 degrees and above about 9,500 feet. 


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


Mountain Weather:

The remnants of the system that dusted the Wasatch last night will move off to the east today.  Snow flurries are possible as cloud bands roll through.  Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy throughout the day.  Temperatures will rise into the mid to upper 30’s at 8,000’ and upper 20’s at 10,000’.  The winds will be in the 10 mph range and shift from the northwest to west this morning.  High pressure builds in this evening so expect scattered clouds and warmer temperatures on Tuesday.  A stronger storm system is forecast to affect the Wasatch late Wednesday night.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying today in the American Fork drainage. 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.


Tom Kimbrough will update this advisory by 7:30 on Tuesday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: