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


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

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Avalanche advisory

MOnday, DECEMBER 8, 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 Monday, December 8th 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m.  We’re giving two free avalanche awareness talks this week: the first will be at Black Diamond at 7pm on Tuesday night; the second on Wednesday at 7pm, at the Mt. Olympus Presbytarian church (3280E 3900S), sponsored by the Wasatch Mountain Club.


Current Conditions:

Storm totals across the range are about even with 1-1½’ reported in the Cottonwoods, along the Park City ridgeline, and in the upper elevations in Provo and Logan.  The Ogden area mountains seemed to have pulled in the lion’s share on the early southwest flow, picking up 1½-2’ of new snow in the last 24 hours.   The early snow yesterday came in as dense heavily rimed snow and graupel, followed by 5-7% density snow.  In other words, the snow fell with a ‘right-side-up’ trend, which is generally good for turning and avalanche conditions.  The winds, initially moderate to strong out of the southwest, settled down as the flow veered northwest during the afternoon yesterday and are now less than 15mph at most locations.  The temperatures also reflect the frontal passage as 8000’ and 10,000’ temps are in the teens and low twenties.   


Avalanche Conditions:

Reports from the backcountry indicated that snow was sluffing naturally on the steeper upper elevations slopes where the graupel and new snow fell on old hard and slick bed surfaces.  Slope cuts and cornice drops also produced movement in the new snow, but any fracture lines were shallow, and generally less than 6”, running a hundred to two hundred feet.  At the mid and low elevations, a warm storm coming in on a warm snow surface allowed for a solid new snow/old snow bond; however the upper elevations are a slightly different story.  It may be that the graupel landing on the old hard bed surfaces will react as the weak layer for more widespread activity today with the additional snow overnight and another possible 4-8” expected today in areas favored by the northwest flow.  Fortunately, the winds should remain generally light, keeping drifting to a minimum and the danger confined to the upper elevations and the highest ridgelines.  


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE where human triggered avalanches will be possible on upper elevation slopes steeper than 35 degrees.  The hazard may rise to CONSIDERABLE if the winds pick up and we receive more snow than expected. 


Ogden area mountains:  The danger is CONSIDERABLE.


Mountain Weather:

An unstable northwest flow will remain over the Wasatch today, with favored areas receiving another 4-8” today.  Winds will be light and out of the northwest.  8000’ temps will be in the low teens and dropping throughout the day.  Skies should start to clear by early evening as a brief shortwave ridge moves in for tomorrow.  Unsettled weather through the remainder of the week.


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 Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center is offering two 3-day avalanche workshops which are being held January 17-19 and February 14-16.  Information and sign-up sheets are available at the Black Diamond store (2092 E. 3900 S.; 278-0233).


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. 


Andrew McLean will update this advisory on Tuesday 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: