Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

Wednesday, NOVEMBER 26, 2003   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, November 26, 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


Current Conditions:

If you love classic cold, snowy storm days, this could be the day to call in well and head into the backcountry.  Snowfall began shortly after midnight, and as of 6 am snow totals are in the 3 to 6” range in the Ogden, Salt Lake and Park City mountains, while snow was just starting in the Provo mountains.  Snow will continue pile up today, with an additional 6 to 10” possible.  The higher amounts will be in areas favored by northwest flow.  Both yesterday’s few inches and today’s snow is light density, 5% fluff.  The winds are from the northwest, averaging 10 to 15 mph, with gusts 20 to 30.  Temperatures are remaining consistently cold, with little fluctuation over the past 24 hours – near 10 degrees at 10,000’, and in the upper teens at 8,000’.


In wind sheltered areas, turning conditions will just get better and better all day long as the snow piles up.  Low angle slopes will be fast and fun in the cold, fluffy snow.  In more exposed mid and upper elevation terrain, wind drifts will form along the higher ridges and in open bowls.


Avalanche Conditions:

With more wind and snow in the forecast, there will be an increasing avalanche danger today.  Backcountry travelers will be mostly dealing with new snow problems – sluffing, new snow soft slabs, and sensitive drifts of wind blown snow.  The snowfall amounts will be elevation and area dependent, with the higher elevations receiving the most snow and wind.  Expect sluffing of the new snow on steep slopes of all aspects.  In areas with wind, there will be sensitive wind drifts a foot or more deep that a person can easily trigger on a steep slope.  The wind drifts will be most common on northeast through southeast slopes.    Careful slope cuts and cornice kicking may be effective today.  


There are a few isolated areas where a slide triggered in the new snow could step down into a deeper weak layer.  Yesterday, resort control work with explosives along the PC ridge line triggered two small hard slabs on northeasterly facing slopes.  They were 50 to 75’ wide, up to 2’ deep and running near the ground.  These were isolated pockets in rocky, shallow snow pack areas.  More widespread through out the range is mid pack weak layer, but again, I think it would take a large load to trigger this layer. 


Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo area mountains):

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on upper elevation slopes steeper than 35 degrees, especially with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  In mid and upper elevation areas that receive the predicted snow and wind, the avalanche danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE later today on steep wind loaded slopes.  Wind sheltered, mid and low elevation terrain has a LOW avalanche danger today.


Mountain Weather:

The Pacific storm system moving through the area will put northern Utah under a moist, northwest flow.  Light to heavy snowfall should continue through out the day, with additional accumulations of 7 to 10” by sunset.  Winds are from the northwest, and may increase into the 20 to 30 mph range.  Temperatures will remain cool, with highs at 10,000’ near 10 and at 8,000’ in the upper teens.    Tonight, there will be decreasing snow showers, with another 2 to 4” possible.   Thanksgiving Day will be partly cloudy and dry, as a high pressure ridge builds into the area.  Then much warmer and unsettled weather is forecast for the weekend.


3-Day Table

3-Day Graph

7-Day Table

Ogden Mountains

Ogden Mountains

Ogden Mountains

SLC Mountains

SLC Mountains

SLC Mountains

Provo Mountains

Provo Mountains

Provo Mountains


For specific digital forecasts for selected mountain areas from the National Weather Service, click the links below or choose your own specific location at the National Weather Service Digital Forecast Page:


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 on Thursday 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: