Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks


The Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/


Avalanche advisory

Monday, April 21, 2003

Good evening. This is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory for the Wasatch Range near Salt Lake City. Today is Monday, April 21, 2003, and its about 6:00 pm in the evening.


Current Conditions:

Over the weekend people enjoyed the foot or more of nice powder in the upper elevations but by today, the warm temperatures have goobered everything up with the exception of a few patches of soft, dry snow above 10,000 on straight north facing slopes. Today, everything I found on elevations below about 9,000 was mushy and above about 9,500 had a breakable crust on all aspects except straight north. But all of this is going to change in a hurry because we have a storm coming in.


Mountain Weather:

Weve got an interesting week of weather on the way and winter is definitely not over yetat least in the mountains. Weve got two storm systems on tap for this week. The first one will pass mostly south of us and will give us snow tonight through Wednesday. Then we get a slight break on Thursday and then a stronger, colder storm for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We may have two or more feet of snow in the mountains by the end of the weekend.


In the mean time, tonight we will have light snow showers and south winds around 15 mph with ridge top temperatures in the mid 20s. On Tuesday, we will have snow through most of the day on a south flow with ridge top temperatures dropping to the low 20s. Then, on Tuesday night and Wednesday we get a slight break before the flow turns westerly to northwesterly with another shot of precipitation on Wednesday night. This first storm looks like it will leave us with about a foot of fairly dense snow and possibly more in some favored areas. The ridge top winds dont look very strong until possibly later on Wednesday.


Avalanche Conditions:

Most of this snow will fall on a wet, mostly stable, snow surface and it should bond fairly well. At elevations above about 9,500 the snow surface is frozen and the new snow will not bond as well, and there you will probably be able to get some dry snow sluffs and perhaps a few isolated shallow, soft slabs to go on the steep slopes. Im guessing that these will mostly be easy to handle and wont be particularly dangerous unless one takes you into something nasty like trees, over a cliff or into a gully. I dont think the wind is going to blow very hard but if it does, it will make some harder wind slabs, which will be considerably more dangerous. Most of these will probably be fairly obvious, since they will be right on the surface. They will look smooth and rounded and will probably crack as you cross them. And it goes without mentioning this time of year, if the sun comes out, it can quickly trigger lots of damp sluffs on the steep sun exposed slopes.


Bottom Line:

Tonight the avalanche danger is LOW but it will change depending on what the storm does. With less than a foot of new snow, there will be a MODERATE danger of loose snow sluffs and isolated areas of soft slabs. If we get more than about a foot of new snow or if the winds significantly blow the snow around, the danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE.


General Information:

To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, call (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 on Tuesday afternoon.


Thanks for calling!


National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: