Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory


Friday, April 04, 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 for the Wasatch Range. Today is Friday, April 04, 2003, and its 7:00 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Today might be a good candidate for a call-in-sick-for-work day with storm totals of 12-16 inches of fairly light density snow in the Cottonwood Canyons with less snow on the Park City side of the range and in the Provo Area Mountains. The new snow is sitting on hard frozen crusts and we have relatively stable avalanche conditions. Yesterday people reported that you could feel the old, hard crusts underneath and you would occasionally hit old, frozen roller balls hidden under the occasionally in-your-face blanket of new snow. I expect that the snow will have settled overnight and be a little more supportable this morning and especially in deeper snow areas it should be hard to complain about. Temperatures have plummeted overnight under a clear sky with most automated stations in the mountains from 5-10 degrees this morning. Ridge top winds are light and from the west.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, the new snow was relatively benign with the only activity being loose snow sluffs on the steep slopes running hard, icy surfaces. People occasionally found some isolated, soft wind slabs but they were fairly manageable and mostly right near the ridge tops. Today we should once again have relatively user-friendly conditions. You will be able to push the snow down the steep slopes in soft, loose snow sluffs, but it probably wont be much of a problem unless it pushes you over a cliff, into trees or into a terrain trap such as a gully. You will also find only very localized places where the wind has created wind slabs that will crack out but they will be mostly soft and tend to break at your feet instead of above you. Be sure to put good slope cuts across any wind drifts in the new snow before you commit yourself.


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

Today, the danger is mostly LOW. But there is a MODERATE danger of loose snow sluffs and soft wind slabs on any slope approaching 40 degrees or steeper, meaning that there are localized places where you can trigger an avalanche. Also, the danger of damp to wet sluffs will rise to MODERATE today if we get sun warming on sun exposed slopes.


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:

Today, we should have variable clouds today, then thicker clouds late this afternoon, tonight and on Saturday. The strong springtime sun may sneak in between periods of clouds and make the south facing slopes a bit damp or even wet today. Temperatures are in the single digits this morning and should rise to 10-15 degrees at 10,000 and get up into the mid 20s at 8,000. Ridge top winds will be fairly light from the west, turning southwest today. We do have a weak disturbance moving through, which will give us some variable clouds. Im not expecting much if any snow today but we should have a moist low pressure coming in for tonight and Saturday. Unfortunately, it looks like the center of the low will go straight over the top of us, which means that we probably wont have enough wind to push the moist air up the mountains and we will be left with only about 4 inches of snow on Saturday.


For the extended forecast, this moist, unstable trough should continue to give us unsettled weather through Monday, giving us occasional periods of snow. The best times for snow look to be Saturday and then again on Sunday morning through Monday morning. Then we go into a strong high pressure ridge, which will bring in much warmer temperatures, then more wind later in the week with another storm about next weekend. In other words, a less intense version of the weather we had this past week.


Click here for more detailed mountain weather forecast and other weather links.


General Information:

Finally, Tom Kimbrough will issue his last forecast this Sunday and after that, he retires. Theres certainly not enough room here to do justice to his 40 years spent in the mountains but I will post a retrospective of his life and career on the web later today. I often call him the Walter Cronkite of the avalanche world, and were certainly sorry to see him go.


Weather permitting, Wasatch Powderbird Guides will fly in Days, Cardiff, Mineral and White Pine with a home run in Grizzly Gulch . 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.


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:00 on Saturday morning.


Thanks for calling!


National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: