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
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Merry Christmas, this is
Itís an old tradition around here to give you a Christmas poem as the avalanche advisory, but today things are nearly too complicated for prose, much less verse. †Nevertheless, I will put some sort of lame facsimile of a poem on the other recording at 364-1591 or click HERE for the web version. †Yesterday, the winds howled in the upper elevation terrain turning all our nice snow into sand-blasted areas alternating with dunes of dense, stubborn, wind slabs that would nearly rip your leg off when you hit them with the added bonus of some flying swan dives. Down lower in the more wind sheltered trees, the winds left things alone and there was six inches of sugary faceted snow and surface hoar that felt like powder if you didnít know better. †This morning, temperatures are in the mid 20ís along the ridge tops with 20 mph winds from the southwest. †About five inches of snow have fallen as of 7:00 am this morning but thereís lots more on the way.
I heard about three different natural avalanches
yesterday from wind drifting.† One was in
upper Little Cottonwood Canyon, one near
The second problem today will be the new snow. †Iíve had some reports this morning that the new snow is not bonding very well to the old snow surfaces. †So as the snow accumulates, be sure to jump on lots of small test slopes and test how well the new snow is bonded to the underlying layers by digging down often with your hand as you travel. †Also, wind will create a fresh round of wind slabs within this new snow today, mostly along the upper elevation ridges but it could be lower on the slopes as well. †Also, the old snow surface in wind sheltered, shady slopes was mostly very weak faceted snow and surface hoar, so as the new snow piles up, some of the most sensitive and dangerous areas may be innocuous-looking places like gullies and terrain traps down low in the basin bottoms.
This storm looks like a big one and we may pile up copious amounts of new snow through about Tuesday. †As the weight adds up, avalanches within the new snow could start to step down to deeper weak layers, making much larger avalanches.
Bottom Line (
The avalanche danger is rising rapidly today and especially tomorrow. †Although thereís only a† MODERATE danger this morning, it will likely rise to CONSIDERABLE this afternoon as we accumulate snow.† By Friday night, we may have a couple feet of new snow with more on the way and the danger may rise to HIGH especially in areas with a thinner snowpack.
Mountains:† A specific advisory for
Thereís not much not to like about this weather forecast unless youíre a holiday traveler who needs to drive someplace. †A major winter storm is starting this morning and weíre expecting about a foot of snow in the mountains today and another foot of snow on Friday. †Ridge top winds will blow 15-20 from the southwest with temperatures in the mid 20ís. †Down at 8,000í temperatures should be just below 30.† The cold air will arrive about mid day Friday and the winds should turn northwest and the temperatures will plummet. †By Saturday morning, temps will be down around 0 degrees along the ridges. †For the extended forecast, storms will continue to bring more snow through about Tuesday
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.
The Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not fly today because of weather.
Like I say, you can get the Christmas poem by calling (801) 364-1591.
If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what youíre 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.
Friends of the
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 Friday morning.
Thanks for calling.
For more detailed weather information go to our Mountain Weather Advisory
For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: