In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management,
Avalanche Advisory afternoon update
Wednesday, April 21, 2004 5:30pm
Good afternoon, this is Craig
Gordon with the
Storm totals are starting to
stack up. Since Sunday, the Cottonwoods have received close to 30” of new snow
with over 2 “of water, including 8-12” last night. The
Its winter again in the mountains and the new snow has been quite active, with numerous reports of both human triggered and natural avalanche activity in the Cottonwoods. Yesterday, two backcountry enthusiasts sympathetically triggered a large soft slab avalanche on the Baldy shoulder while starting to descend the main chute. The slide was 3-4’ deep and about 100’ wide. The two came out unscathed, though it was a close call for them and the numerous other people in the area. (Baldy crown and slide Daniel Howlett photos). Remember, all the ski areas expect for Snowbird are closed and no one is doing avalanche control work, and all closed ski areas should be treated as backcountry terrain, even if they have old moguls.
Today, there were numerous natural and human triggered slides on all aspects, involving snow from last night, with a few breaking deeper into Tuesday’s snow. The snow was very sensitive to ski cuts, and the slides averaged 9 to 18” deep, and 100 to 300’ wide. As the day heated up, the snow got damp; there were natural and human triggered wet sluffs and slabs on a variety of aspects and elevations. These entrained enough snow to carry you off a cliff, into trees or even bury you in a terrain trap.
An additional 8 to 16” of snow is expected by tomorrow afternoon, coupled with increasing winds, and I expect the avalanche danger to rise. If you are heading out in the backcountry tomorrow, there is the potential for another round of sensitive slab avalanches breaking out 1 to 2 feet deep and over 100’ wide. It will be possible for some of these slides to step down and take out all the snow that’s fallen this week. Even if you’re staying on low angle terrain tomorrow, be aware of both people and steep slopes above you.
A wet pacific storm will move through tonight and slowly clear the area late Thursday afternoon or Thursday night. Winds will be light through Thursday morning then pick up from the north to northeast Thursday afternoon and Thursday night. For tonight expect snow showers to develop with 4-8” expected. Lows will be near 20 degrees at both 8 and 10,000’. On Thursday another 4-8” are possible. High temperatures will be in the mid to upper 20’s. Winds will be increasing on Thursday into the 25-30 mph range from the northeast. High pressure builds in Friday through the weekend, which will dramatically warm temperatures, so expect another round of wet avalanche activity.
Backcountry snow and avalanche information is still useful to us. So if you’re still getting out and see anything of interest, leave us a message at 524-5304, 1 800-662-4140, drop us an email at [email protected], or a fax to 524-6301. The information in this advisory is from the US Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.