In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management,
Friday, March 19, 2004,†† 7:30 am
morning, this is Andrew McLean with the
The mountains gave up all pretense of freezing last night and yesterday as temperatures soared into the 40ís and refused to come down. †Strong ridgetop winds out of the southwest kept it feeling a bit cooler in the upper elevations, but down in the valleys it was sweltering. †Miraculously, a few patches of soft snow have endured in high, sheltered terrain, but slop, guanche and bottomless pits of collapsing, rotten snow are the norm.† This trend will continue today but break tonight as a weak cold front nudges into the area and brings a refreeze for Saturday morning in time for the PowderKeg Ski Mountaineering race. †
††††††††††† Click here for a PowderKeg aerial view
††††††††††† Click here for a topo map of the course
The snowpack has taken a beating from above and below with this stretch of unseasonably high temperatures.† Aside from not freezing at night, daytime highs and nighttime lows have been with 5 degrees of each other, which has allowed the heat to penetrate deeper into the pack. †So far, the temperatures have been gradually creeping up and the snow has had time to adjust to them, but if we get a sudden spike in temperatures as is expected on Sunday, the upper level water saturation could outpace the percolation capacities and we could have a dramatic wet avalanche cycle. †
Today, the high ambient air temperature will be the main concern. †With the freezing level at over 12,000í, shady aspects will start to feel the effects of prolonged warming, with the mid elevations becoming spongy and wet.† Areas that have had extended warm spells, like the Provo mountains, or that have a shallow snowpack, such as the Unitas will be the first to see natural avalanche activity.† †Today, you will want to avoid any steep slopes with wet, soggy snow on them and keep any eye out for similar slopes above you. Those without good backcountry travel skills might try to fool the snow deities into thinking youíve given up on winter by going biking this weekend.
Line for the Wasatch Range, including the
The avalanche danger will be low this morning rising to MODERATE on mid elevation slopes during the heat of the day. ††For the weekend, the danger of wet avalanches will dramatically rise.
Line for the
The avalanche danger will be moderate, rising to considerable during the heat of the day due to extended periods of above freezing temperatures.
Thin, high clouds and continued temperatures in the upper 40ís are expected today with decreasing winds out of the west. †A weak cool front will stall over the mountains tonight, dropping temperatures down below freezing for Saturday morning. †Sunday promises to be a sizzling skillet, with near record highs in the lower 50ís and little to no wind. †This might be the last of it, as it begins to cool off early next week with a chance of precipitation on Wednesday.
For specific digital forecasts for the
Grizzly Gulch and
The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Snake Creek, American Fork and Cascade Ridge yesterday and will return to the same areas today.
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.
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 Less will update this advisory Saturday morning.
Thanks for calling.