In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management,
Tuesday, February 24, 2004, 7:30 am
morning, this is Andrew McLean with the
The warm air mass and wide spread stratus clouds stuck around last night and will continue again today. Light, but steady winds blew out of the south and a bit of low level moisture favored the valleys with some snow and dropped a trace in the mountains. Another trace of new is expected today, with 8,000’ temperatures climbing into the mid 30’s with a light wind out of the south. Backcountry conditions run the gamut from near corn on the mid and lower elevation sunny slopes to settled powder in the shady upper elevations and a variety of crusts in between.
The soft slabs formed from the new snow and steady winds over the weekend. These are most common on the lee side of upper elevation ridgelines and range from a few inches to a foot deep. They are sensitive to human triggers as well as cornice drops and produce tree shaking power sluffs that are running fast and far. It will be easy to trigger one of these with slope cuts, but they will be especially dangerous if they are triggered from above and catch you after they’ve built up some speed. These will also have the potential to step down into deeper layers, as seen by the 2-3’ deep crown lines from control work at the ski areas. When venturing onto steep, shady upper elevation slopes, be aware of thick deposits of heavy powder, especially if you see cracking.
The other concern for today will be the wet slides on sunny or lower elevation slopes. The sun isn’t scheduled to make a brilliant appearance, but the high, thin clouds will help trap the heat and cause warming. With 8,000’ highs expected to be above freezing and overnight lows of around 20, we have a damp snowpack that will be reactive to warm spikes in temperatures.
Line for the Wasatch Range, including the
There is a MODERATE danger of soft slab avalanches in upper elevations with recent deposits of wind drifted snow, or of wet sluff activity on sunny or lower elevation slopes. In sheltered, mid elevations, there is a low danger of human triggered avalanches.
Today will be cloudy with a trace of snow possible and winds building to moderate by the end of the day. By tonight, a weak ridge will be on top of us that will soon be pushed out by a powerful Pacific storm moving in from the south on Wednesday. Strong winds and dropping temperatures will accompany a cold front which is scheduled to arrive around midday on Thursday with accumulations of snow throughout the day.
For specific digital forecasts for the
Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday and today they are headed to
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.
Evelyn Lees will update this advisory Wednesday morning.
Thanks for calling.