Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

saturday, NOVEMBER 29, 2003   7:30 am

 

Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, November 29, 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 

 

Current Conditions:

All the old timers, including me, have been wracking their brains to remember when we’ve had such good coverage combined with fantastic powder snow on top of such a stable snow pack in November.  Nobody really remembers, except that it’s been a long, long time.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it because the party is coming to an abrupt end.  Here’s the sad numbers.  Temperatures this morning are at least 10 degrees warmer than yesterday morning and 30 degrees warmer than a couple days ago.  This morning at 4:00 am the 10,000’ temperature is creeping into the bikini zone of 32 to 35 degrees.  And there’s even worse news.  Later today we’re expecting the dreaded “R” word, dare I say it, RAIN.  Yes rain, possibly to as high as 10,000’.  I don’t think it will be much rain—mostly clouds but we may get a light sprinkle, with a better chance of rain tonight and on Sunday.  For the next couple months, we will be talking about the end of November rain crust in our snow profiles.  In other words, all our epic powder is going to heck in a hand basket, as we say here in Utah.  Sunday looks warm too and Monday looks even more grim.  It might be warm and rainy, but at least it will be windy.

 

Avalanche Conditions:

This is the most stable snowpack I can remember for several years in Utah.  All the old avalanche pros have big grins on their faces after walking around on eggshells for the past several years.   Having said that, things are changing and there are two avalanche problems you need to consider today.  First, the stronger winds and warmer temperatures yesterday have made the snowpack “inverted” or “slabby” in wind exposed areas, meaning that there’s stronger snow sitting on weaker snow.  Yesterday, there was one very small skier-triggered avalanche in Cardiac Bowl around 10,000’, 6-10 inches deep and just 6 feet wide, which ran 50 feet, but otherwise, everything stayed in place quite well.  People are starting to find some stubborn, wind slabs along the upper elevation ridges which sometimes crack but don’t move.  As always, avoid steep slopes with fresh wind drifts.  Second, with the dramatically warmer temperatures today, we will probably have some damp to wet sluffs on steep low elevation slopes and steep sun exposed slopes.  Also, if we get more rain than I’m expecting, the wet activity may become more widespread.

 

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

The avalanche danger is  LOW  today in all areas with the exception of  MODERATE  danger in isolated areas of wind drifts, especially on above tree line steep slopes and also some localized damp to wet sluffs at lower elevations because of the rain and warmer temperatures. 

 

Mountain Weather:

We’ll have very warm temperatures today with 8,000’ temperatures near 40 degrees and 10,000’ temperatures around 35 degrees.  We will have partly to mostly cloudy skies with the possibility of light rain below about 9 or 10,000’ with wet snow above.  Tonight and Sunday look like a better chance of rain with continued very warm temperatures.  Ridge top winds should blow from the southwest 10-15 mph.  On Monday, we’re expecting the ridge top winds to pick up and blow harder, up to 25 mph from the south with stronger gusts.   After that, we have a series of smaller storms lined up to keep the snow coming, but we don’t see any major snowstorms.  The next one looks like Tuesday, then another one on about Thursday.

 

 

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:

Next week we will be giving two free avalanche awareness talks – one at the Salt Lake REI, Tuesday, December 2nd at 7 pm, and the other at Kirkham’s, Saturday, December 6th, at 7pm.

 

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. 

 

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory on Sunday 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:

http://www.avalanche.org/usdanger.htm