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:


To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day free of charge, visit: http://www.mailermailer.com/x?oid=16351h

For photos of avalanches and avalanche phenomenon, visit: http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/photos_03-04.htm (Updated 3/16)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html (Updated 3/12)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit: http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm (Updated 3/9)


Early morning preliminary information by about 6:00 am: 801-364-1591


Avalanche advisory

Saturday, March 20, 2004, 7:30 am


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Saturday, March 20, 2004, and its 7:30 a.m. This forecast is brought to you in partnership with the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, supported in part by Black Diamond Equipment.


We have issued a Special Avalanche Advisory for the mountains of northern Utah through at least Sunday. The warm weather expected through early next week has increased the danger of wet avalanches, and backcountry travelers should stay off of and out from under steep slopes.


Current Conditions:

It is a downright toasty first day of spring. In the Salt Lake and Park City mountains, temperatures are currently in the upper 30s to mid 40s at the 9 to 11,000 elevations. The Provo and Ogden area mountains are even warmer, with temperatures in the 40 to 48 degree range. The westerly winds have been decreasing, and are in the 10 to 15 mph range across the higher ridges and peaks.


Skies are clear this morning, and there is a shallow refreeze of the snow surface above about 9,000 in the Salt Lake and Park City mountains. The window of frozen crusts will be very short lived this morning, and this thin solid outer layer will rapidly soften, and the snow will soon become slushy and punchy, especially in shallow snowpack areas.


Avalanche Conditions:

The main concern is the transition from wet sluffs to wet slab avalanches, which have a potential to be very large and long running. With a series of nonfreezing nights and hot days forecast, I expect the snowpack to become unglued somewhere in the northern Utah mountains over the next few days. Sunday and Monday will have the greatest potential for dangerous wet slab and glide avalanches. We are especially worried about any thin snow pack areas throughout the northern Utah mountains, especially in the Uintas, and on west through north through east facing slopes. Early starts will not cure the wet slab and glide avalanche problems. When the snowpack starts melting 24 hours/day, avalanche can occur at all hours. Stay off of and out from under steep, snow covered slopes both during the day and at night. Picnics in gullies and below steep slopes, such as at Lisa Falls, must be avoided.


Bottom Line for the Salt Lake AND Park CITY AREA MOUNTAINS:

While the avalanche danger will be low very early this morning, it will rapidly rise to MODERATE with daytime heating, and may reach CONSIDERABLE. Backcountry travelers should stay off of and out from under steep slopes.


Bottom Line for the OGDEN and PROVO AREA MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger is moderate this morning, and will rise to considerable with day time heating. Natural avalanche activity is possible.


Uinta Mountains: For Uinta specific information, click on Western Uintas on the advisory page or phone 1-800-648-7433.

Logan: click HERE or call 435-797-4146


Mountain Weather:

The ridge of high pressure will strengthen over northern Utah through Sunday, and the unseasonably warm temperatures will persist. Highs today will be in the low 50s at 8,000 and the mid 40s at 10,000. The westerly winds will decrease into the 5 to 10 mph range by this afternoon. Temperatures will be even warmer tonight through Sunday night, with 10,000 free air temperatures in the upper 40s and 8,000 highs reaching the mid 50s on Sunday. Winds will remain light, from the southwest. Temperatures will cool slightly mid week, with the first chance for snow or rain around Friday.


For specific digital forecasts for the Salt Lake, Provo or Ogden mountains, CLICK HERE.


General Information:

The Grizzly Gulch and Twin Lakes pass area will be congested this morning as 150 racers work their way between Alta and Brighton in the Wasatch PowderKeg event.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Snake Creek, American Fork and Cascade Ridge with an alpine tour to Box Elder yesterday, and will not be flying today.


If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what youre 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 Sunday morning.


Thanks for calling.