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


: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/


Avalanche advisory

SUNDAY.  November 9, 2003   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, November 09, 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


Current Conditions:

Skies are mostly cloudy this morning with balmy temperatures near freezing at most mountain locations.  In the hours since midnight, the winds along the upper ridgelines have picked up out of the south and southeast and are in blowing 20-30mph.  Turning and riding conditions remain good, if not a little more hazardous than early in the week, as our snowpack has settled out to about 1-2’.  You’ll find the best conditions on north and northeast slopes above about 8500’; sunny slopes and lower elevations are well crusted.  Areas underlain by grassy slopes are the best choice for turns, and snow machiners will want to stay on roads or smooth trails.


Avalanche Conditions:

The avalanche conditions the past few days can be summed up by something my old grandpa in Kentucky used to say, “Boy, if nothing’s happening, ain’t nothing gonna happen.”  Applied to our snowpack, this generally refers to avalanches on the macroscale (deep slab instabilities notwithstanding), and not to the snowpack itself on the microscale.  While the snow has remained stable most of the past week, the upper few inches of the snow has been weakening through recrystalization on the sunny and shady sides.  Fortunately, the warmer temperatures and cloudy skies the past couple days have offset or stalled out that rapid growth of surface faceting.  Which could be a good thing, because, getting back to my granddad, something’s about to happen.  A storm system should move in by late morning with possibly 3-6” or more today and another 3-6” or more tonight.  Strong southerly winds associated with the system will load northerly slopes and crossload any in the lee.  With 6” of snow and winds, I’d expect sensitive wind drifts and cornices in the mid and upper elevations and the new snow may not bond all that well to the old snow surfaces.  More snow arriving than forecasted could result in more widespread activity.  With the rain/snow line at around 8000’ will result in wet point release activity on steep slopes at the lower elevations. So it looks like for today and tomorrow, it’s time to tune up your avalanche skills and avoid any steep slopes with fresh deposits of windblown snow. 


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is LOW this morning, but will be on the rise this afternoon with the expected accumulations and strong winds.


Mountain Weather:

Today’s weather will be dominated by a storm ejected out of an upper level Low pressure system off the coast of California, bringing snow and strong winds to the Wasatch.  Light snowfall has already begun and continue throughout the day and into tomorrow, with an optimistic storm total of about a foot in the Cottonwoods and possibly more in areas favored by a southerly flow, such as the Park City, Ogden, and Provo area mountains.  As it is a warm storm, the rain/snow line will start at 8000’ and gradually lower overnight and tomorrow.  8000’ temperatures will be just below freezing, with 10,000’ temps in the mid-twenties.  Ridgetop winds will be strong and southerly.  For the big picture, Utah will continue to be under the influence of the Low as it moves inland early in the week, with occasional cloudy and showery weather.  The longer range models suggest a drier outlook into mid-November.


General Information:

If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what you’re seeing, especially if you trigger an avalanche.  You can leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.  Or you can e-mail an observation to [email protected] .org, or you can fax an observation 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 Monday morning.

 Thanks for calling!


For more detailed weather information go to our Mountain Weather Advisory

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: