Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory


Monday, March 31, 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 for the Wasatch Range.Today is Monday, March 31, 2003, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Under clear skies temperatures dipped to about 30 degrees at both eight and ten thousand feet.In the Provo and Ogden area mountains low temperatures were closer to 35 degrees at 8,000í.At most elevations the winds have been from the west in the 10 mph range.Along the high peaks the winds are blowing in the 25 mph range this morning.


The snow surface is frozen in most areas this morning.You can still find some soft settled and recycled powder on northerly aspects in mid and upper elevation areas.Otherwise expect a mix of supportable and breakable sun and wind layers depending your aspect and elevation.


Avalanche Conditions:

The March sun zapped the snow surface yesterday at most elevations.There were lots of reports of roller balls and wet surface snow, but I only heard about a few avalanches.All of these avalanches occurred on steep sun exposed slopes and only involved the surface snow.Today I expect to see similar conditions.We are starting out a little warmer this morning, but I expect some high clouds to build during the day.


As youíre moving through the backcountry today pay attention to your aspect and elevation.Look for signs of increasing wet slide activity such as roller balls and point release avalanches starting near rocks or on steep sun exposed slopes.If you see any of these signs or if youíre sinking into the snow more than about 8 inches itís time to get off of and out from under steep sun exposed slopes.


We are in the middle of a decent warm up and rapid warming events can cause our buried weak layer to become more sensitive.It has been over a week since we have seen any deep slab avalanches in the backcountry, but there remains an isolated chance of triggering a slide that will break down into the deeper layers.


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

This morning, the avalanche danger is generally LOW.With daytime heating, the danger of wet sluffs and wet slabs will rise to MODERATE and may rise to CONSIDERABLE on and below steep sun exposed slopes.There remains an isolated chance of triggering an avalanche that breaks into deep, old snow layers on steep slopes above about 9,500í, and this danger may also increase with warming.


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


Logan: Call 435-797- 4146 or click here for the web site.


Mountain Weather:

The ridge of high pressure, currently over the Great Basin, will begin to flatten today as the next Pacific trough begins to push inland.In the Wasatch high clouds will begin to build about mid day and temperatures should rise into the mid 50ís at 8,000í.The winds will become southwesterly this morning.Wind speeds will be in the 10 to 20 mph range today and increase into the 30 mph range by Tuesday morning.The cloud cover will also increase on Tuesday.Cooler temperatures and periods of snow are forecast to begin on Wednesday and continue through the weekend.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying in American Fork, Cascade Ridge, and Cascade Mountain areas 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 7:30 on Tuesday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: