In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management,
Tuesday, March 23, 2004,†† 7:30 am
morning, this is Andrew McLean with the
With four days of tropical temperatures, the snowpack is disappearing faster than popcorn at a movie theater Ė get it while you can, because it may not last. †The good news is that worst of the heat appears to be over, as a slight cooling trend moves into the area.† The bad news is that it will be accompanied by a light rain, overcast skies and afternoon thunderstorms. Safaris into the heart of the backcountry are generally difficult, with alternating savannahs of surface mush, wind-board, soft snow, rocks and deep pockets of isothermal muck.
Wet slides continue to be the most dangerous predator, with their starting zone shifting into the upper elevation shady aspects.† High east facing slopes have been very active in the last two days as they rapidly shed their winter coat in large, wet avalanches.† With a soggy, heavy snowpack, it doesnít take much to get snow to move Ė a dropped cornice, roller ball or slope cut is more than enough to create a groaning monster capable of tearing out trees.† While these avalanches may seem benign, they pack a lethal slow motion punch.† As the activity spreads to unusual areas, route finding will be your best line of defense.† Stick to the high ground, such as ridges or well away from the run-out zones and watch out for sinking in to soft, rotten snow, especially in areas with thin snow packs.
Glide avalanches are common with these warm, springtime conditions and have been occurring right on queue. †They tend to release in well known areas, such as upper Broads Fork, Stair Gulch and other areas with smooth rock bed surfaces, such as the quartzite slabs of Big Cottonwood.† Some of these areas are obvious, but some lurk far above mellower terrain.† Until they have run their course, avoid loitering in runout zones such as tranquil streams at the base of large drainages.
Line for the
A moderate avalanche danger exists on all slopes steeper than 35 degrees, with human triggered avalanches being possible.† With afternoon heating and potential rain, the danger will rise to CONsiderable, with natural wet avalanches being possible.
The hot weather will finally start to break today as some clouds move into the area, bringing light showers and slightly cooler temperatures. †The 8,000í highs will be in the mid 50ís with overnight lows expected to drop down to the high thirties. †A moderate wind will build out of the west in advance of a splitting storm that is expected by Friday. †The weekend looks like a return to winter, with a good chance of snow and overnight lows of around 20.
For specific digital forecasts for the
The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didnít fly yesterday and will pass on flying again 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 Lees will update this advisory Wednesday morning.
Thanks for calling.