Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory


Friday, March 28, 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 Friday, March 28, 2003, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Only a couple more inches of snow fell overnight in the Cottonwood Canyons, which adds up to between 6 and 10 inches of snow in the past day and a half and 17 inches since Tuesday.If youíre looking for the really deep stuff, head to the Logan Area Mountains, which got a couple feet of new snow a couple days ago.The extremely strong ridge top winds two nights ago blew from the west with hourly averages of 70, gusting to 100 along the highest, exposed peaks.Surprisingly enough, the wind affected mostly just the upper elevation peaks, giving them that sand blasted look, but most slopes remained unaffected by the wind.On most slopes, the snow yesterday was quite nice with six inches to a foot of light, fluffy snow.You can still feel the old crusts underneath along with some frozen chunks of snow from the warm temperatures a few days ago. Elevations below about 8,500í remain damp.Some of the sun exposed slopes yesterday got a slight sun crust yesterday.Itís not quite a mandatory call-in-sick-for-work day, but hey, itís not bad for the end of March.


Avalanche Conditions:

At least on paper, the strong ridge top winds along with close to a foot of new snow should have been blown into widespread areas of dangerous wind drifts but it didnít quite turn out that way.Instead, the wind affected just the most upper elevation peaks and left everything below that pretty much unaffected.The only significant avalanche activity yesterday was from explosive avalanche control work in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon.One large avalanche broke out 4-5 feet deep into old, faceted snow in a heavily wind loaded shoulder between 10,500í and 11,000í.Another explosive-triggered, soft slab on a north facing slope hit the lower angled apron at the bottom of the cliffs and broke out another deeper avalanche, 4-5 feet deep and 80 feet wide into old, faceted snow.Other than these two large, deep explosive-released avalanches, the wind slabs within the new snow remained fairly localized and confined mostly to the highest elevation peaks and ridges.


As far as wet activity from sun warming, today, Iím expecting enough clouds and cold temperatures to keep the new snow from heating up too much, but if we do get clearing, you can expect the typical round of damp to wet sluffs on the steep, sun exposed slopes that we usually get this time of year when the strong sun warms up the new snow for the first time.


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

Today there is a MODERATE danger of human triggered avalanches on slopes steeper than 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.Remember that many of these drifts will be covered up by new snow, so they will be harder to spot.On slopes without wind drifting, the danger is generally LOW.With significant sunshine, expect a MODERATE danger of damp to wet sluffs on steep sun exposed slopes.Finally, there is the usual MODERATE danger of deeper avalanches breaking into old layers of faceted snow on steep slopes above about 9,500í especially on northerly through easterly facing slopes.


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


Mountain Weather:

The cold, unstable air will linger again today giving us light convective snow showers in the afternoon.The flow is from the northeast, so the chance of snow is highest in places like the north slope of the Uinta Mountains and the Logan area mountains.The Wasatch Range should have light snow showers, mostly in the afternoon with ridge top winds around 10 mph from the north and northeast.Ridge top temperatures will remain cold, around 10-15 degrees and 8,000í temperatures in the mid 20ís.


For the extended forecast, we have much warmer temperatures for later in the weekend and early next week which should goober up all our nice, light snow.Then we have another storm for about Wednesday through Friday, which should have strong winds, cold temperatures and more snow.


General Information:

Today, if the Wasatch Powderbird Guides will fly in Days, Silver, Cardiff and Mineral Fork with a home run in either Grizzly gulch or White Pine.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.


I will update this advisory by 7:30 on Saturday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

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